Nuance Communications, now a part of Microsoft, announces that it is leveraging generative AI to assist radiologists via the PowerScribe platform, used by over 80% of radiologists.

Healthcare institutions like Mass General Brigham and Quantum Radiology are integrating Nuance’s Smart Impression feature. This feature streamlines workflows, accelerates reporting, and enhances radiologist efficiency, especially in times of staffing shortages and clinician burnout.

Physician burnout and radiology staff shortages continue to plague the industry, emphasizing the urgent need to deliver scalable and practical solutions to relieve cognitive burden and improve process efficiency amid growing demand for diagnostic imaging. The Medscape 2023 Physician Burnout & Depression Report reported that 54% of radiologists report feelings of burnout, up from 49% in 2022. Up to 44% report that burnout has strong or severe impacts on their lives and well-being. The most recent 2023 American Society of Radiologic Technologists Staffing and Workplace Survey found that vacancy rates topping 18% are at a 20-year high.

“Radiologists must make high-stakes, timely decisions in dozens of cases each day and generate reports that guide their downstream clinical care, and the cognitive burden of increasing workloads can have great consequences,” says Bernardo Bizzo, senior director at Mass General Brigham’s AI-focused business office. 

“Generative AI tools may offer great value to our field by lightening some of the burdens placed on radiologists by automatically drafting impressions the way we are used to, helping avoid common mistakes and reminding of important information to include,” Bizzo adds.

What’s more, says Keirsun Crockett, MD, a neuroradiologist at Quantum Radiology, “Based on our experience with auto-impression features from other vendors, PowerScribe Smart Impression effectively redefines what radiologists should expect from AI-powered reporting solutions. We’ve licensed it for all 83 of our radiologists. It’s really helpful because it consistently generates wording that is exactly what I would say.”

PowerScribe Smart Impression, a collaborative effort by Nuance and Microsoft in advancing generative AI, aims to alleviate clinician burnout and enhance clinical efficiency, ultimately improving healthcare outcomes. 

“Just as we have done with our Dragon Medical portfolio of clinical documentation solutions including the new Dragon-Ambient eXperience (DAX) Copilot, Nuance and Microsoft are accelerating the development of generative AI-powered capabilities for radiology starting with PowerScribe Smart Impression,” says Calum Cunningham, senior vice president and general manager of diagnostic imaging at Nuance. 

“It advances the state of the art of radiology reporting and empowers radiologists with fully integrated tools that can produce meaningful improvements in radiology reporting efficiency and physician satisfaction without changes to the platform users have relied on for decades.” Cunningham adds.