Tech

HCA Healthcare partners with Google Cloud to automate clinical documentation

AI technology can help providers focus on patients instead of administrative tasks.
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Francis Scialabba

· 3 min read

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Healthcare Brew covers pharmaceutical developments, health startups, the latest tech, and how it impacts hospitals and providers to keep administrators and providers informed.

Nashville-based HCA Healthcare, one of the largest hospital operators in the country, plans to incorporate Google Cloud’s generative artificial intelligence (AI) into electronic health records across its 180+ hospitals, medical documentation company Augmedix CEO Manny Krakaris told Healthcare Brew.

HCA is one of the first health systems in the nation to begin using Augmedix Go, a Google Cloud AI-enabled platform, to automate clinical documentation—an effort that started earlier this year in four HCA hospitals, the company announced on Tuesday.

“There’s a holy grail that the doctors always talked about, which is that ‘I can just go provide care and the documentation would take care of itself.’ Well, we think that that future is coming into vision with the advent of these large language models,” Michael Schlosser, HCA’s SVP for care transformation and innovation, said in a roundtable discussion ahead of the rollout.

Through the Augmedix app, providers can record audio of their conversations with patients. Google Cloud’s speech-to-text AI technology then converts the recording into medical notes, which can be transferred into the patient’s electronic health record and save the provider more time, according to HCA.

Traditionally, providers spend about 34 minutes with each patient, but 16 minutes of that time is focused on manual charting, Healthcare Brew previously reported.

“It doesn’t make sense to have your most expensive resource do administrative work,” Krakaris said. “Let someone—an entity that is built just to do that, that specializes in that—handle that because they can do it better, faster, and cheaper.”

HCA piloted Augmedix Go with emergency room physicians because it is one of the “hardest places to do this kind of work,” Schlosser said. Emergency departments don’t have a linear workflow or a set schedule of patients, and are often quite noisy, Krakaris added.

Augmedix Go has speech recognition technology that can focus on the primary speakers instead of background noise, Krakaris said.

“We know if we can make it work [in the emergency room department] that we can potentially scale this much more broadly,” Schlosser said.

The large hospital operator is in the process of collecting data to measure how well the technology works, but physicians in the pilot study reported “strong overall satisfaction,” according to HCA.

The collaboration expands on HCA’s strategic partnership with Google Cloud, which was first announced in 2021 and prioritizes patient privacy and other data protections. HCA has also identified ways to incorporate Google Cloud’s generative AI into other workflows such as nursing handoffs, the hospital operator said.

“This is a unique innovation that we think will really help us accelerate our work in healthcare,” Schlosser said.

Navigate the healthcare industry

Healthcare Brew covers pharmaceutical developments, health startups, the latest tech, and how it impacts hospitals and providers to keep administrators and providers informed.