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More talking, less typing: New technology transcribes medical visits

Innovative, voice-activated technology is allowing WellSpan physicians to automatically transcribe patient visits, providing a better connection as well as a thorough documentation of the encounters. 

Nicknamed DAX, short for Nuance Dragon Ambient eXperience, the artificial intelligence technology uses voice recognition to listen to and document the conversation between a physician and a patient, converting it into clinical notes. This means a physician no longer needs to manually enter information into the patient's electronic medical record by typing on a computer. 

WellSpan first piloted the secure, innovative technology with more than 75 providers and recently began expanding its use to an additional 200 physicians in its primary care network and specialty practices. WellSpan is the largest adopter of DAX in Pennsylvania and one of only a few healthcare organizations in the country where primary care providers use DAX. 

DAX is a high-tech solution that allows for a high-touch experience. 

"My favorite part of using DAX is how it allows for better connection with my patients. I now feel like I attend to my patient's story and not just medical details," said Dr. Chris McCarty, WellSpan Family Medicine - Terre Hill. "A visit now feels more like a conversation instead of an interview."   

Benefits for patients 

Patients say the technology results in more talking and less typing by the physician. 

"It's a great idea," says Harry Donahue, one of McCarty's patients. "I know it's important they get everything down so they can treat the patient. We can talk and everything is clear, and he isn't busy typing. There is more eye contact. It's nice." 

Benefits for physicians 

In addition to improving the provider and patient interaction, DAX reduces physician documentation time by as much as 50 percent, said Dr. R. Hal Baker, WellSpan senior vice president and chief digital and information officer and a practicing physician using DAX. 

"We believe its use will help prevent burnout as we let our physicians focus on what they love: caring for patients," Baker said. 

Developed by Nuance and Microsoft, DAX uses technology similar to what is employed by Amazon's Alexa or Apple's digital assistant Siri. Physicians use DAX through their cell phone to record patient interactions. Patients will be informed of the use of the software during their visit and must approve its use. 

DAX technology along with WellSpan's best-in-class patient portal are examples of ways WellSpan Health is implementing the latest technology to further engage patients in their healthcare to inspire life-long wellbeing. 

Review this video on how DAX is improving the WellSpan patient experience.  

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