Back at the HIMSS 2010 conference in Atlanta, Dr. Wodajo had the opportunity to check out Nuance’s Dragon Mobile Medical app suite for the iPhone. This collection of apps included support for medical dictation, medical search, and a catalog of recordings tied to individual patients.

These products were based on Nuance’s ambitious innovation in natural language processing.This app suite from the start included an SDK to allow other developers, particularly EMR developers, to integrate Nuance’s products into the native environments of their own software.

A recent press release from Nuance suggests this product is inching closer to large scale deployment across large practice groups and entire healthcare systems, potentially allowing physicians to soon dictate entire notes into an EMR using just their iPhone or Android mobile device.

Nuance’s Dragon Medical Enterprise Network Addition, according to the press release, adds numerous important features for large scale deployment. Included are better support for Citrix-based EHR environments, which many hospitals use to securely manage their EHR’s across large facilities. As the press release states, this will allow physicians…

to switch seamlessly back-and-forth between dictation and typing as needed, play back dictation to hear what was recorded, correct medical notes via voice commands, and more. With this synchronized connection, Dragon Medical can replace the common and time-consuming EHR tasks that many physicians struggle to complete through sole use of the keyboard and mouse.

Additionally, this suite includes support for automated updates across an enterprise system as well as improved central management tools – both critical to the IT team of any large practice or facility. I’m particularly a fan of automated updates.  This way, when drugs like coumadin pass into medical history, their replacements will immediately pop up in the database.

As Dr. Wodajo pointed out when he initially reviewed the Dragon products six months ago,

The obvious advance for physicians will be use of Nuance’s SDK to integrate voice dictation dictation directly into EHR applications and thus make it seamless, rather than adding to the physician’s workflow….The vision is that a physician can simply dictate an encounter and, using natural language processing, the key parts of the note such as chief complaint, history, exam, etc. can be pulled out and used to populate structured data fields inside the EHR. Pretty ambitious.

I agree.