Amazon Launches Voice Transcription Tool For Doctors

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is launching a voice transcription tool for doctors at its Las Vegas re:Invent conference Dec. 2-6, CNBC reported on Monday (Dec. 2).

Amazon Transcribe Medical transcribes doctor-patient interactions and transfers the information to an individual’s health record.

“Our overarching goal is to free up the doctor, so they have more attention going to where it should be directed,” said Matt Wood, vice president of artificial intelligence (AI) at AWS. “And that’s to the patient.”

Wood said Amazon Transcribe Medical can be used with Amazon Comprehend Medical, which was introduced at the 2018 re:Invent conference. That tool can identify medical conditions, medications, tests, treatments and procedures. 

Many medical doctors still depend on traditional dictation software, which can take hours to transcribe. Wood noted that Amazon Transcribe Medical has built-in punctuation, “so there’s no need for a doctor to say out loud that a comma should be inserted.”

Using an application programming interface (API), the AWS medical software can be embedded into any device or app, however, it is only available to Amazon cloud customers. Google is working on a similar tool with Stanford University and Microsoft Azure is working with Nuance.

The technology was developed with the electronic health IT company Cerner and the transcription start-up Suki.

The service is HIPAA eligible, so doctors who want to use the technology must be compliant with patient privacy laws. Wood said it was no small feat to get accurate annotation for the “domain-specific language and abbreviations” common in the medical field.

Amazon’s entry into the $3.5 trillion medical space includes its acquisition of PillPack; the healthcare joint venture Haven with J.P. Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway; and the primary care group, Amazon Care. Amazon also added HIPAA-compliant features to Alexa. 

“We want to change the way people experience healthcare so that it is simpler, better and lower-cost,” Atul Gawande, M.D., Haven’s CEO, said in a statement in March. “We’ll start small, learn from the experience of patients and continue to expand to meet their needs.”


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