Introducing medical speech-to-text with Amazon Transcribe Medical

We are excited to announce Amazon Transcribe Medical, a new HIPAA-eligible, machine learning automatic speech recognition (ASR) service that allows developers to add medical speech-to-text capabilities to their applications. Transcribe Medical provides accurate and affordable medical transcription, enabling healthcare providers, IT vendors, insurers, and pharmaceutical companies to build services that help physicians, nurses, researchers, and claims agents improve the efficiency of medical note-taking. With this new service, you can complete clinical documentation faster, more accurately, securely, and with less effort, whether in a clinician’s office, research lab, or on the phone with an insurance claim agent.

The challenge in healthcare and life sciences

Following the implementation of the HITECH Act (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health), physicians are required to conduct detailed data entry into electronic health record (EHR) systems. However, clinicians can spend up to an average of six additional hours per day, on top of existing medical tasks, just writing notes for EHR data entry. Not only is the process time consuming and exhausting for physicians, it is a leading factor of workplace burnout and stress that distracts physicians from engaging patients attentively, resulting in poorer patient care and rushed visits. While medical scribes have been employed to assist with manual note taking, the solution is expensive, difficult to scale across thousands of medical facilities, and some patients find the presence of a scribe uncomfortable, leading to less candid discussions about symptoms. Existing front-end dictation software also requires physicians to take training or speak unnaturally, such as explicitly calling out punctuation, which is disruptive and inefficient. Additionally, to help alleviate the burden of note taking, many healthcare providers send physicians’ voice notes to manual transcription services, which can have turnaround times between one and three business days.  Additionally, as the life sciences industry moves toward precision medicine, pharmaceutical companies increasingly need to collect real-world evidence (RWE) of their medications’ efficacy or cause potential side effects. However, RWE is often acquired during phone calls that then need to be transcribed.

Transcribe Medical helps address these challenges by enabling an accurate, affordable, and easy-to-use medical speech recognition service.

Improving medical transcription with machine learning

Transcribe Medical offers an easy-to-use streaming API that integrates into any voice-enabled application and works with virtually any device that has a microphone. The service is designed to transcribe medical speech for primary care and can be deployed at scale across thousands of healthcare providers to provide affordable, consistent, secure, and accurate note-taking for clinical staff and facilities. Additional features like automatic punctuation and intelligent punctuation enable you to speak naturally, without having to vocalize awkward and explicit punctuation commands as part of the discussion, such as “add comma” or “exclamation point.” Moreover, the service supports both medical dictation and conversational transcription.

Transcribe Medical is a fully managed ASR service and therefore requires no provisioning or management of servers. You need only to call the public API and start passing an audio stream to the service over a secure WebSocket connection. Transcribe Medical sends back a stream of text in real time. Experience in machine learning isn’t required to use Transcribe Medical, and the service is covered under AWS’s HIPAA eligibility and BAA. Any customer that enters into a BAA with AWS can use AWS HIPAA-eligible services to process and store PHI. AWS does not use PHI to develop or improve AWS services, and the AWS standard BAA language also requires BAA customers to encrypt all PHI at rest and in transit when using AWS services.

Bringing the focus back to patients

Cerner is a healthcare IT leader whose EHR systems are deployed in thousands of medical centers across the world. Using Amazon Transcribe Medical, Cerner’s voice scribe application can automatically and securely transcribe physicians’ conversations with patients. They can analyze and summarize the transcripts for important health information, and physicians can enter the information into the EHR system. The result is increased note-taking efficiency, lower physician burnout, and ultimately improved patient care and satisfaction.

“Extreme accuracy in clinical documentation is critical to workflows and overall caregiver satisfaction. By leveraging Amazon Transcribe Medical’s transcription API, Cerner is in initial development of a digital voice scribe that automatically listens to clinician-patient interactions and unobtrusively captures the dialogue in text form. From there, our solution will intelligently translate the concepts for entry into the codified component in the Cerner EHR system,” said Jacob Geers, solutions strategist at Cerner Corporation.

We’ve also heard from other customers using Transcribe Medical. For example, George Seegan, senior data scientist at Amgen, said, “In pharmacovigilance, we want to accurately review recorded calls from patients or Health Care Providers, in order to identify any reported potential side effects associated with medicinal products. Amazon Transcribe Medical produces text transcripts from recorded calls that allow us to extract meaningful insights about medicines and any reported side effects. In this way, we can quickly detect, collect, assess, report, and monitor adverse effects to the benefit of patients globally.”

Vadim Khazan, president of technology at SoundLines, said, “SoundLines supports HealthChannels’ skilled labor force at the point of care by incorporating meaningful and impact focused technology such as Amazon’s medically accurate speech-to-text solution, Amazon Transcribe Medical, into the workflows of our network of Care Team Assistants, Medical Scribes, and Navigators. This allows the clinicians we serve to focus on patients instead of spending extra cycles on manual note-taking. Amazon Transcribe Medical easily integrates into the HealthChannels platform, feeding its transcripts directly into downstream analytics. For the 3,500 healthcare partners relying on our care team optimization strategies for the past 15 years, we’ve significantly decreased the time and effort required to get to insightful data.”

Improving patient care and satisfaction is a passion that AWS shares with our healthcare and life science customers. We’re incredibly excited about the role that Transcribe Medical can play in supporting that mission.


About the author

Vasi Philomin is the GM for Machine Learning & AI at AWS, responsible for Amazon Lex, Polly, Transcribe, Translate and Comprehend.






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