Epic’s new EHR voice assistant, “Hey Epic!” was supposed to officially debut at HIMSS20. However, due to the cancellation, people were not able to experience and test out this new feature set. According to Epic, this ambient voice technology is being utilized by 20 organizations currently but is now widely available for healthcare organizations via the Haiku app.
We want to cover a few highlights of this new technology and how we see it being a great tool within the EHR system to continue improving and augmenting patient care.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Hey Epic! Works similarly to the consumer-based Alexa or Google Home voice assistant devices. Clinicians can access via the Haiku app on their phone and utilize this ambient voice technology to gather, input, and request information for patient care. This tool has considerable potential to enhance patient care by providing more face time with caregivers and less time at the computer.
WHAT CAN IT DO NOW?
Currently, Hey Epic! is accessed through the Haiku app on a provider’s phone, and integrated with Nuance Communications and M*Modal technologies to provide voice assistant technology to care providers. Providers can do things like place orders for medications, create reminders or tasks to add to their worklist, access patient record information, and call another care team member. They can use this to prepare for the next patient visit, access information during a visit, or wrap up a patient visit with reminders or orders.
WHAT WILL IT BE ABLE TO DO IN THE FUTURE?
Epic has also said that within the year, the voice assistant will become more interactive and able to confirm actions or respond with follow-up questions as well as be handsfree with the ability to activate the voice assistant by simply saying “Hey Epic.” Similarly, in the future, commands and requests will continue to evolve and become more robust, providing capabilities like placing orders for labs/imaging and documenting information directly into their EHR.
HOW DOES THIS HELP PHYSICIANS?
Providers are constantly faced with challenges of lack of time, too much data, and the need to always be improving patient care. With the use of voice-based technology, providers can help with tackling all three of these issues. It can help quickly access relevant data that can help provide better care, save time when trying to access that essential data, and give the patient more face to face time and less “at computer” time, improving patient satisfaction. The end goal of this technology is to be able to complete a patient visit efficiently and with a high level of care with very little to no need for being at the computer while bedside.
Although ambient voice technology is a newer technology being used in healthcare, it is showing a lot of promise, and early feedback seems to be positive. It has a long way to go with regards to full potential, but as it improves and continues developing, it should be to improve overall care and provider efficiency drastically.