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Craig Newman: How Technology Can Reduce Administrative Burden for Physicians


Craig Newman, the chief strategy officer at HealthChannels for ScribeAmerica, discusses how technology can be used to help reduce the amount of time and energy providers spend doing administrative tasks.

Craig Newman, the chief strategy officer at HealthChannels for ScribeAmerica, discusses how technology can be used to help reduce the amount of time and energy providers spend doing administrative tasks.


How can technology help reduce the administrative workload for doctors so that they can provide better care to patients?

Newman: Great question. I think everything is all about how do you make it easier for physicians to focus in on patient care? The last thing we want to do is actually create new sequential processes or new workflows that take the provider away from the patient.

And so, when I think about the model itself, and this is going to be different, again, based on the care environment that the providers working in — I'll just use an ambulatory clinic — I think about segmenting that work pre-visit, during the visit, and post-visit and looking at how we can offset some of that work with technology. For some, the technology is still not up to snuff to offload everything for that provider.

So, let me give you a prime example. So, let's talk about documentation of the physician itself and doing a clinical documentation. There's a whole notion of how do we leverage artificial intelligence (artificial intelligence) to actually drive value at the point of care to help with physician documentation. AI is incredibly effective when we talk about like radiology, or coding, or billing practices because there's tremendous data and very little variability.

Think about your primary care office. You've got different voices, different templates, different processes, different people coming in and out, maybe different caregivers, a ton of variability that exists for providers today. Technology alone — AI and machine learning models — can't solve the problem. And so, I think what we're seeing happen in the market, and what we've done with our product line Speke, is actually blend front-end technology that creates a seamless workflow for the provider. Imagine being able to walk into a room, hit a single button, and it could capture the entire conversation between a patient provider. No periods, no stop phrases, no clicking around in the EMR (electronic medical record), no nothing. And then, you leave the room, you hit stop, you can verbalize something after the fact, move on to your next patient, and never be tethered to the computer. And then, within moments to 24 hours, that note is structured in the EMR.

How did that happen? Well, we take that smart technology optimization process — sort of audio preprocessing, and speaker segmentation and machine learning — we route it to back-end labor to do QA (quality assurance) and CDI (computer design and integration) and then offload the clerical task from the doctor, doing that work behind the scenes a little bit asynchronously. Just by doing that little step, you can free up time. And getting back to that what we talked about previously around time driven activity-based cost, you've got to create time for the physician and offload those clerical tests.

We're seeing the same thing to providers, pre- and post-visit who were using technologies like chatbots or robotic process automation technologies, that can help make sure that we automate as many processes as possible. But then, we still need to make sure that there's human glue involved, who can help them with support strategies like doing comprehensive chart prep, helping tee up where there are care gaps to close, helping them with their specificity, acuity, documentation, or even making sure their charts are completed, efficient, and on time so the bills get out, so they don't have outstanding charts and their DSOs [daily sales outstanding] don't get screwed up throughout the course of the week or month.

So, I think it's a balance of technology and labor working in concert together. It's not an and/or [situation]; it's a both.

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