Nuance, the U.S. speech recognition giant known for its Dragon-branded dictation software and its work for Apple's Siri personal assistant, announced this morning that it has assembled more than 750 developers to focus on healthcare applications of its speech-enabled software.
The Massachusetts-based company is working to increase the speed and reliability of its medical speech recognition technology, which physicians and nurses use to record notes about patients and reference electronic medical records.
Its work with developers stems from a drive to increase adoption of its technology by incorporating it into the health-related applications that developers are already making.
"A crucial element [is] partnering with innovative healthcare developers to create applications that are easy to use and drive productivity so clinicians can devote more time to the patient interaction and care plan," Nuance general manager Janet Dillione said in a statement.
Of specific interest is electronic records, which clinicians find troublesome and complex, despite the implementation of federal government incentives and penalties. Digitized records promise efficiency, but their lack of flexibility and steep learning curve at the onset of adoption have physicians complaining that they have seen little benefit and greater losses in productivity.
Nuance believes applications under development today, such as Lightning Charts and Modernizing Medicine, can help "customize" those records for clinicians' individual needs and thinks it can improve upon those efficiencies further by incorporating speech-based input.
A secondary benefit is in telemedicine, heralded as a solution for spiraling healthcare costs in the U.S. Nuance believes using speech-based input will help humanize an otherwise clinical—pun intended—profession.