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HIMSS notebook: EHR trends embraced by vendors with AI and CRM

EHR trends were among the news at HIMSS 2018. Cerner and Salesforce are teaming to bring patient data into healthcare CRM. Meanwhile, Epic and Nuance promoted an AI assistant.

LAS VEGAS -- In a move to boost patient engagement through customer relationship management, or CRM, technology, Cerner and Salesforce are teaming up to interweave their data, cloud and electronic health records products.

The partnership allows physicians to better communicate with patients using data contained within electronic health records (EHRs), Cerner announced here at the HIMSS 2018 conference. Cerner's HealtheIntent big data and population health platform will integrate with Salesforce Health Cloud -- a sign of current EHR trends to reach out to patients after office visits or hospital admission.

The combination of health data and CRM platforms will support health system call centers and marketing efforts aimed at reaching patients.

Health Cloud looks to fill care gaps

Meanwhile, Salesforce also announced updates to Health Cloud, including the following:

  • Assessments. Aimed at collecting discreet information from patients in an easy format -- "What was your glucose check today?" -- these forms are mobile-friendly and can interact with EHRs. The assessment feature uses branch logic to send respondents down different question paths based on prior answers. "It offers the tools that you might see in SurveyMonkey, inside Salesforce," said Joshua Newman, M.D., chief medical officer at Salesforce, in an interview.
  • Care gaps. It can be difficult to track cracks in patient treatment outside a hospital or physician's office. With this updated feature, providers get a better idea of how treatment is progressing and whether a patient failed to take recommended steps. For example, if a patient doesn't show up for a breast-cancer-screening appointment, the care gaps function can alert the physician, who in turn can contact the patient.
Joshua Newman, chief medical officer at SalesforceJoshua Newman

These two new features echo customer service by allowing healthcare organizations to better follow patient actions. Empathizing with a consumer's experience throughout a healthcare episode -- from noticing an initial symptom to visiting a clinician, to being sent home and dealing with treatments -- will be a key approach for health IT companies going forward, Newman said.

There is an "exponential rise in the importance of things that happen outside of hospitals," he added.

EHR  trends include vendor cooperation

In other HIMSS 2018 news about EHR trends, Nuance -- a clinical speech recognition software company that sells Dragon Medical -- will use its AI capabilities to integrate a virtual assistant into several products from Epic Systems.

For example, physicians using Epic's Haiku mobile app on smartphones to access patient EHR data will be able to ask Nuance's AI-powered assistant for information, such as lab results. Similar capabilities have been introduced to its point-of-care medication-scanning app, Epic Rover, and its outpatient scheduling app, Epic Cadence.

Voice artificial intelligence will make things immediate.
Indu SubaiyaM.D., executive vice president of Health 2.0

Whether it's consumers accessing a portal or clinicians using an EHR, trends point to voiced-based AI as a way to speed up caregiving and data sharing, said Indu Subaiya, M.D., executive vice president of Health 2.0, a business division of HIMSS that produces conferences for new health technologies.

"Voice artificial intelligence will make things immediate. Things will be completely seamless, I believe," Subaiya said during an interview at HIMSS.

Next Steps

Microsoft to acquire Nuance in $19.7 billion deal

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