Ambience Healthcare Aims To Reduce Clinician Burnout With New AI Medical Scribe

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Physicians spend more than 16 minutes on average per patient visit using electronic health records (EHRs), research shows. At a time when clinician burnout is at an all-time high, one company is trying to reduce the burden of administrative tasks.

San Francisco-based Ambience Healthcare, a healthcare software company, launched Thursday its AI medical scribe called AutoScribe. The product embeds into the electronic medical record and works in real-time. The company, which has raised $30 million, created the product out of two years of research and development.

When clinicians use AutoScribe, they speak to their patient as they normally would while the software listens in the background. Immediately after the visit, the physician gets a draft of the medical notes from the meeting, and then they can edit the notes if needed. The notes from AutoScribe provide information on the patient, the symptoms the patient mentioned and the care plan the physician recommended. If the care plan changes in the middle of the visit based on new information the patient provides, the scribe updates to only include the new care plan.

AutoScribe is able to pick up on the medically relevant parts of the visit and differentiate from small talk. It also organizes content by each unique problem, can pick up on multiple speakers and is multilingual. Additionally, the notes can be customized to the clinician’s preferences.

The product is beneficial for three main reasons, argued Nikhil Buduma, co-founder and chief scientist of Ambience Healthcare. One, it reduces the administrative burden for clinicians so they don’t have to take the notes themselves or sift through a transcription to find the relevant information from the visit. It also helps with reimbursement, as the CPT codes that physicians use to bill for insurance have to be supported by the documentation. Lastly, it helps in the case of a malpractice suit if a physician needs to go back and see why they decided on the treatment path they did.

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“If you’re a provider, you’re going to come back and see this patient later,” Buduma said in an interview. “In a raw transcript format, it’s really hard for you to figure out what exactly is going on. But if you read the [AutoScribe] note, it’s actually much easier for you to understand exactly what’s going on, what the decision was and what the care plan is.”

Mike Ng, co-founder and CEO, added that AutoScribe is especially beneficial for longer patient visits, such as for psychiatry.

“In the psychiatry setting, where the introductory evaluation visits are about a one hour block, [clinicians] spend around 30 minutes afterward completing documentation. After they use Ambience, it’s about four to five minutes,” Ng claimed.

AutoScribe, which is charged either on a per provider per month model or a per minute model, is already being used by some provider organizations, including Pine Park Health in Oakland, California. Dr. Denise Yun, executive medical director of the organization, said AutoScribe has saved hours out of providers’ days.

“For as long as I can remember, my colleagues and I would stay late at work and spend hours at home after dinner trying to catch up on our charts. We had come to accept it as just ‘part of the job.’ … I see a weight lifted off the shoulders of our providers using Ambience. They are leaving work earlier. They are no longer spending hours writing notes at home,” Yun said in a news release. 

Ambience is in a crowded space when it comes to AI medical scribing. Other companies with similar products include Nuance, DeepScribe and Suki. Though Ng and Buduma claim AutoScribe provides results faster than other competitors because it is an “AI-only” product, meaning it does not require human scribes to review the note and edit it before sending it to the provider.

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Photo: metamorworks, Getty Images


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