AWS HealthScribe Uses Generative AI And Real-Time Doctor-Patient Conversations To Update Medical Charts

By Paul Smith-Goodson, Patrick Moorhead - November 15, 2023

Generative AI (GenAI) has demonstrated profound usefulness in almost every industry segment. Amazon Web Services recently announced several AI-driven products, which I will cover in future articles. In this article, I focus on an AWS application called HealthScribe, a HIPAA-eligible service that combines speech recognition and generative AI. AWS is now releasing HeathScribe as a preview product in the eastern U.S., and there is no information yet on its general availability.

HealthScribe’s target market is large healthcare organizations and related software vendors. It automatically creates preliminary clinical notes using natural language processing and generative AI to analyze conversations between patients and clinicians.

HealthScribe can improve the quality, efficiency and accuracy of medical charting, a tedious and predominantly manual process that documents detailed information about each patient visit. Charting is an unpopular and time-consuming task in medical practices, in part because it reduces face-to-face time with patients. Nevertheless, it is essential for capturing historical patient interactions and administering quality programs and insurance billing.

Benefits of HealthScribe for medical charting

An illustrative example of the application experience that healthcare developers can provide users

HealthScribe uses generative AI techniques to manage and transform healthcare data. Considering HealthScribe’s potential to replace a massive number of manual charting hours across the industry, it could be one of the most promising and useful medical applications this year for various healthcare providers, payers, IT vendors and software developers. Its use in medical practices could enhance data-driven decision making, increase collaboration, reduce administrative labor and decrease the cost of care.

The graphic above shows how HealthScribe summarizes clinical notes from a conversation between a patient and a clinician. It also separates summaries into sections such as chief complaint, history of present illness, assessment and treatment plan.

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A helpful feature is its ability to extract specific medical terms, medical conditions, medications and treatments from the conversation. Medical terms that suggest reading topics can be included in a drop-down form for custom applications if desired.

The future of HealthScribe

Large medical organizations with thousands of medical practitioners will see significant productivity gains by using HealthScribe. Healthcare software vendors such as 3M, ScribeEMR and Babylon are already putting AWS HealthScribe to use in their clinical applications.

  • 3M Health Information Systems plans to leverage HealthScribe in clinical applications where more than 300,000 clinicians will use it. The company is positioning HealthScribe as a foundational technology to expedite, refine and scale the delivery of 3M’s ambient clinical documentation and virtual assistant solutions.
  • ScribeEMR is a leading provider of virtual medical scribing, virtual medical coding and virtual medical office services for hundreds of medical practices, hospitals and health systems. It wants to use AWS HealthScribe in healthcare documentation by capturing and interpreting patient visits more effectively, thereby optimizing EMR workflows, coding and reimbursement processes.

As interest in GenAI grows, software vendors that build high-performance applications for clinical settings—things like telehealth applications or centralized electronic health record (EHR) platforms—are considering how best to leverage HealthScribe. Integrating HealthScribe into clinical software will also help software vendors use AI responsibly. HealthScribe references each original patient transcript to its AI-generated sentence in the clinical notes, making it easier for users to validate the accuracy of summaries.

Wrapping up

AWS HealthScribe can potentially reduce the number of human hours associated with charting patients’ visits. Besides saving the healthcare industry a staggering amount of time in charting, its automated features promise to streamline patient care and improve clinical workflows for medical practitioners.

As technology advances and more healthcare software vendors integrate HealthScribe into packaged solutions, it should have a positive impact on individual medical practices and the healthcare system as a whole. Tedious documentation tasks will be minimized and physicians will be able to focus their attention where it matters most—caring for patients.

Here are the overall benefits of HealthScribe as I see them:

  1. Reduces time spent on clinical documentation, thereby freeing up more time with patients
  2. Improves accuracy and readability of clinical notes
  3. Simplifies review of patient histories via summary sections
  4. Automatically provides sources for medical terms and conditions
  5. Seamlessly integrates into EHR systems and clinical workflows
  6. Enables development of customized voice-based clinical apps using its API
  7. Lowers costs by reducing charting errors
  8. Reduces time to extract coding and billing information
  9. Provides reference transcripts to validate AI-generated notes
  10. Frees up time for complex patient needs
  11. Improves ability to collect data analytics

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Paul Smith-Goodson is the Moor Insights & Strategy Vice President and Principal Analyst for quantum computing and artificial intelligence.  His early interest in quantum began while working on a joint AT&T and Bell Labs project and, during 360 overviews of Murray Hill advanced projects, Peter Shor provided an overview of his ground-breaking research in quantum error correction. 

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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.