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Microsoft, Nuance Team Up to Accelerate Healthcare Delivery

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Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) recently entered into an alliance with Nuance Communications NUAN to develop conversational AI and ambient intelligence technologies to transform doctor-patient interaction.

Per the agreement, the companies will focus on enhancing healthcare delivery by innovating Nuance’s ambient clinical intelligence (ACI) technology.

Microsoft’s robust Azure AI capabilities and EmpowerMD services will complement Nuance's strength in healthcare-optimized and ambient intelligence technology driven, conversational AI processing and speech identification offerings.

Moreover, Nuance will deploy hosted products and on-premise data workloads to Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure. Markedly, Nuance already leverages Microsoft Office 365.

The deal is a testament to Microsoft’s growing focus on expanding presence in the multi-trillion healthcare sector with innovative solutions.

Increasing adoption of Azure to support healthcare workloads provide the cloud platform with immense exposure in the domain, which is a positive. However, financial terms of the deal have been kept under wraps.

Efforts to Automate EHR on Patient Consent Bode Well

Emerging ambient intelligence technology is all about infusing intelligence to day-to-day environments, making them receptive to the ongoing activities in the surroundings. Innovation in AI, ML, deep learning, sensor networks, IoT, connected devices, are expected to drive utility of ambient intelligence technology.

Meanwhile, ACI allows a seamless physician-patient conversation as AI takes care of administrative tasks, including updates to a patient’s electronic health record (EHR), through patient consent. Nuance’s AI-based healthcare information ACI tech facilitates clinical documentation and is an attempt to reduce physician burnout.

Moreover, Microsoft will aid Nuance to launch ACI, preliminarily pertaining to physician specialties, in early 2020. Per Nuance, its Dragon Medical platform is being utilized by approximately 500,000 physicians globally.

Both the companies will collaborate with EHR providers (names have not been disclosed) to develop ACI technology to enhance clinician-patient interaction and improve engagement. Patient consent will be taken into consideration and ACI will orchestrate patient-clinician conversations, which will be integrated with EHR, and get auto-updated in the system.

Scope of Ambient Intelligence Technology in Healthcare

Virtual assistants integrated with ACI technology are expected to gain significance in the healthcare industry. Per data from AllTheResearch, healthcare virtual assistants market is expected to hit $1,311.9 million in 2023 from $291.5 million valuation in 2018 at a CAGR of 35.1%.

Further, improving AI skills are likely to bolster adoption rate of these voice assistants in the clinics, enabling doctors with automated EHR updates.

Notably, hospitals are exploring new uses of virtual assistance in intensive care units and surgical recovery room so that these become capable of monitoring doctor-patient interactions and suggesting treatment approaches.

We believe Microsoft’s partnership with Nuance, which is one of the leading solution providers in the healthcare virtual assistants market courtesy to ACI tech, favors business prospects.

Moreover, Microsoft’s ongoing healthcare initiatives in partnership with Providence St. Joseph Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance WBA and UCLA will reinforce competitive position against Amazon AMZN, Alphabet, Apple, among others, in the healthcare space.

Microsoft currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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