Speech recognition software maker Nuance Communications and IBM Research have
announced a partnership to use digital diction in electronic health records.

IBM Research will contribute its expertise in medical dictation processing to
help Nuance enhance its clinical language understand products, or CLU,
technologies. According to a press release, the goal is to enable healthcare
organizations to understand and use the clinical information contained in health
reports.

“[The collaboration] will combine some of the work IBM has done in the
natural language processing area with the work we’re already doing at Nuance to
tackle that big problem in healthcare, which is, how do you get structured data
out of the narrative part of the dictation?” Peter Dulach, Nuance’s senior vice
president of marketing and product strategy for healthcare, told eWeek.

Dulach said the collaboration will allow CLU applications to parse data from
a doctor’s dictation into a structured format without having to enter the
information into electronic health record fields themselves.

According to Dulach, approximately 2 billion medical reports are dictated by
doctors per year in the United States. The U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services is providing doctors and hospitals as much as $27 billion in the next
10 years to buy equipment to digitize medical records.