February 22, 2024
Oracle brings generative AI to healthcare: Clinical Digital Assistant


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Oracle is moving to embrace generative AI for healthcare. Today, at its annual health conference in Las Vegas, the Larry Ellison-led company announced it is integrating an AI-powered Clinical Digital Assistant into its EHR (electronic health record) solutions to help caregivers automate certain administrative tasks in their workflows and focus on what matters the most: Quality of patient care.

The announcement comes at a time when enterprises across sectors are racing to embrace generative AI but healthcare organizations continue to move at their own, steady pace. According to a recent GE Healthcare survey, one of the biggest reasons behind this slowed adoption is the lack of trust in generative AI technologies – stemming from problems like bias in outputs.

With the introduction of its proprietary AI assistant, Oracle could help address some of those concerns. The company says it is especially useful for healthcare teams struggling with staffing issues – a problem expected to get worse over the coming years, with a projected shortage of 18 million workers by 2030. It could provide patients with improved self-service experiences.

How exactly will Oracle Clinical Digital Assistant help?

EHR solutions connect data from different touchpoints and improve the care delivery process, from reviewing previous treatments taken by the patients to prescribing medications. However, in their current form, EHRs require clinicians to interact with the system, which takes time and breaks the care delivery experience patients expect.

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With the new generative AI-powered Clinical Digital Assistant, Oracle EHR solutions will provide caregivers with a multimodal helper of sorts, one that could work via both text or voice commands.

This way, during an appointment, clinicians no longer have to interact with a screen to find the information needed. They can handle routine tasks — such as seeking the latest MRI scans and prescriptions — by simply calling out to the assistant.

According to Oracle, when prompted, the assistant looks up the required elements in the database and delivers all the information — from images to documents — in a relevant order, allowing the physician to gain insight into the appropriate treatment path right away. Plus, it remains active throughout the appointment and uses generative AI to handle administrative tasks like taking notes of the conversation as well as suggesting context-aware next actions, such as ordering medication or scheduling labs and follow-up appointments. 

The whole thing works on top of Oracle’s broader Digital Assistant platform, designed to help enterprises create chat and voice-based conversational experiences for their business applications. It’s already in use by multiple organizations, including FedEx, Echo, Exelon, Equity Residential and Razer.

“By bringing comprehensive generative AI and voice-first capabilities to our EHR platforms, we are not only helping providers reduce mundane work that leads to burnout, but we are also empowering them to create better interactions with patients that establish trust, build loyalty, and deliver better outcomes,” Suhas Uliyar, senior vice president of product management at Oracle Health,” said in a statement.

There’s more to it

Beyond improving clinicians’ workflow, the Clinical Digital Assistant would also help patients with things like scheduling appointments or paying bills.

Oracle says patients will be able to use the bot as a strong source of medical knowledge by asking questions in natural language, similar to the way consumers can interact with popular large language models (LLMs) such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Anthropic’s Claude 2.

Meanwhile, providers could link it with their secure portal to provide them with helpful information, like reminders to bring lab reports during an upcoming appointment. 

Currently, only some of these capabilities are rolling out. However, the company expects a full rollout over the next 12 months. 

The move comes as the latest leg in Oracle’s bigger generative AI effort. Prior to this, the company debuted generative AI features for its Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM) offering, making it easier for enterprises to handle HR tasks like writing job descriptions or drafting employee surveys. During the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call, Ellison also confirmed they are developing a new cloud service with Toronto-based Cohere to make it easy for enterprises to train their own customized LLMs. 

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