Oracle Health integrates generative AI, voice tech into EHR system to automate medical note-taking

Software giant Oracle has integrated generative AI services into its Cerner electronic medical record system as health IT companies race to harness this cutting-edge tech for providers.

The use of AI and conversational voice tech will enable doctors and clinicians to automate medical note-taking, order medications and view lab reviews while also more easily reviewing a patient's medical record, Oracle executives said during the Oracle Health Conference, which kicked off Monday in Las Vegas.

"We've completely rethought how long it takes somebody to get their job done using the system. I think that we are on the verge of completely eliminating 'pajama time' as a result. This is not about going from 10 clicks to seven clicks or six clicks to five clicks. This is about completely eliminating clicks, where we can and where it makes sense. That is not a tomorrow or that's years away. That is a tomorrow that's here," Mike Sicilia, executive vice president, industries at Oracle told the audience at the Oracle Health Conference.

The company acquired Cerner in a $28 billion deal a year ago with bold plans to modernize Cerner's Millennium EHR platform.

The company unveiled this week its Oracle Clinical Digital Assistant to enable providers to leverage the power of generative AI together with voice commands to reduce manual work so clinicians can focus more attention on patient care.

Oracle executive also said the digital assistant makes it easier for patients to take self-service actions such as scheduling appointments, paying a medical bill or checking clinical information using simple voice commands. Patients also can use the tool to get generative AI-driven answers to questions such as, "What happens during a colonoscopy?"

The multimodal voice and screen-based assistant participates in the doctor-patient appointment using generative AI to automate note-taking and to propose context-aware next actions such as ordering medication or scheduling labs and follow-up appointments, executives said in a press release.

The generative AI tool also responds to conversational voice commands from providers who can ask questions, such as "Show me the patient’s latest MRI results," to look up elements of a patient’s EHR record during an appointment. The technology then provides the information and images to physicians in a relevant order to help them gain insight into the appropriate treatment path without requiring a multimenu, multistep interaction with the EHR, executives said.

The new solution will be available in the next 12 months.

"The EHR should be a provider’s best ally in delivering engaging, personalized care to the patients they serve,” said Suhas Uliyar, senior vice president of product management at Oracle Health, in a statement. “By bringing comprehensive generative AI and voice-first capabilities to our EHR platforms, we are not only helping providers reduce mundane work that leads to burnout, but we are also empowering them to create better interactions with patients that establish trust, build loyalty, and deliver better outcomes.”

Clinicians also can communicate with patients via web chat embedded in their secure patient portal, such as reminding patients to bring required lab results to an upcoming visit.

Sicilia said Oracle Health was making all of its application programming interfaces (APIs) publicly available. "Our investment in OCI [Oracle Cloud Infrastructure] will allow us to build a more open, intelligent, cloud-based healthcare platform," he told the audience Tuesday. "To do so, we're announcing that we're going to increase the surface area of the APIs—that's the things that your IT department, your partners and other third parties are using to connect to Cerner Millennium—by 300% in the next 12 months. And, we're making every single API public, which means that you can use them yourself to replace components, your partners can use them, and frankly, our competitors are welcome and encouraged to use them as well."

Oracle's move to incorporate generative AI into its Cerner EHR comes several months after rival Epic has charged ahead to infuse the technology into its clinical and health IT systems. The company announced back in April during the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Conference in Chicago that it was working with Microsoft to integrate large language model tools and AI into its electronic health record software. The health IT vendor and the tech giant are collaborating to combine the Azure OpenAI Service with Epic’s EHR software with an initial focus on drafting message responses.

The EHR giant has continued to roll out more tools to help clinicians save time and access critical data at the point of care. Tapping into Microsoft's AI capabilities, Epic launched "copilot" solutions to help providers with medical note summarization, offer coding suggestions and provide access to real-world evidence for patient care.

Epic also is working with Abridge to integrate the startup's generative AI for clinical documentation into its EHR workflow.

Google is collaborating with Meditech to bring generative artificial intelligence to EHRs, including at Nashville, Tennessee-based HCA Healthcare.