CMIOs Busy Deploying Ambient Assistants to Ease EHR Documentation

July 10, 2024
This week, vendor Nabla announced a partnership with Illinois-based Carle Health, while Abridge unveiled a deal with the University of Vermont Health Network

The latest phase of electronic health record optimization occupying chief medical information officers is the deployment of ambient assistants for clinicians, with the vendors in this space announcing new health system partnerships on a regular basis. 

This week, vendor Nabla announced a partnership with Illinois-based Carle Health, while Abridge unveiled a deal with the University of Vermont Health Network.

Nabla noted that physicians, regardless of specialty, spend an average of 15.5 hours each week on paperwork, with nine of those hours dedicated solely to EHR documentation. Seeking to address physician burnout, health systems have been searching for ways to cut down on documentation time.

After a four-week pilot with participants across family medicine, pediatrics, cardiology, and other practice areas, Nabla's ambient AI assistant will roll out to Carle Health's multi-specialty physician group practice. It will then be gradually implemented throughout the year to 1,500 Carle Health providers, including emergency rooms and hospitalists.

"Nabla fits seamlessly into our workflows, and thanks to the onboarding support and training we received throughout the pilot program, we started seeing results immediately," said David Lovinger, associate chief medical 0fficer and chief informatics officer of Carle Health, in a statement. "Nabla enhanced the patient experience at our pilot sites by giving our providers more face time with their patients, knowing that it was doing the heavy lifting for charting. We look forward to rolling Nabla out to additional practice groups and feel confident in the results we'll continue to achieve."

Carle Health is using Nabla's standard templates and features, including its telehealth integration and multi-speaker functionality. Over 50% of Carle Health clinicians reported saving at least one hour or more per day in documentation work during the pilot program. Nabla is integrating with Carle Health's EHR system, Epic. Clinicians will use the integrated version of Nabla within Epic on their desktop or mobile phone.

In rolling out Abridge, UVM Health Network joins its other health system customers, including UChicago Medicine, Sutter Health, Yale New Haven Health System, UCI Health, Emory Healthcare, The University of Kansas Health System, and UPMC.

UVM Health Network, an integrated academic health system serving over 1 million patients in Vermont and northern New York, selected Abridge following a vetting process with 50 primary care providers evaluating multiple solutions. Clinicians at UVM Health Network have already been using Abridge’s generative AI solution for four months. The enterprise rollout will soon expand to cardiology, endocrinology, and other specialties. 

"Abridge has delivered spectacular results for our physicians and improved the patient experience. We’ve eagerly awaited this day, and there’s no turning back,” said Jason Sanders, M.D., M.B.A., CEO and President of the UVM Health Network Medical Group, in a statement. “The superior quality of Abridge’s AI-generated note drafts made them the obvious choice by our Digital and Remote Health Committee for ambient documentation." 

UVM said it saw these improvements during the pilot:
• Improved professional fulfillment: Since deploying Abridge, clinicians’ professional fulfillment increased by 53% based on the Stanford Professional Fulfillment Index, an industry-validated measure of physician wellness. 

• Significant time savings: Clinicians reported a 60% decrease in time spent on documenting patient encounters, both during clinic hours and outside of regular work hours. 

• Decreased cognitive load: Clinicians experienced a 51% reduction in cognitive load, allowing for more focus and attention with patients. 

“Abridge is clinically smart and feels like it has been trained with clinician thinking. It creates a note that resonates with me, reading like a clinician wrote it,” said Alicia Jacobs, M.D., family medicine physician in Colchester, Vt., in a statement. “Abridge is the first thing I've seen that improves provider wellness and relieves cognitive load, allowing me to be fully present with my patient.” 

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