Nuance is looking good

BURLINGTON, MA – Ordering and analyzing medical images can be a time-consuming and expensive process for both the radiologist and the patient. Nuance Communications, developers of the Dictaphone suite of speech and imaging solutions, is looking to make that process easier.

Last month the Burlington, Mass.-based company announced the acquisition of Commissure, Inc., a medical imaging software company that provides speech-enabled radiology workflow optimization and data analysis solutions. Peter Durlach, Nuance’s senior vice president of healthcare marketing and product strategy, said the deal allows Nuance to tap into a “richer set of solutions” that will improve how diagnostic exams are ordered, interpreted, documented, shared and analyzed.

Durlach and Paul Ricci, Nuance’s CEO and chairman, pointed out that exams and studies make up a large segment of the average cost of healthcare. With reimbursements for imaging studies dropping and insurers pushing for pre-certification of all exams, hospitals and physician groups need an automated system to sort out and speed up the imaging process, and then a data-mining solution to interpret the results in real time and provide clinical decision support.

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“Radiology is the largest specialty market that the Dictaphone Healthcare Solution division serves, already saving the industry more than $200 million per year in transcription costs,” Ricci said in a press release. “Still, the opportunity to deliver high-value solutions with broader, more customizable features is significant.”

“There’s some huge economic savings here on both the payer’s side and the provider’s side,” added Durlach.

Michael Mardini, Commissure’s CEO, says clinicians are under a lot of pressure to improve the medical imaging process. Commissure’s RadCube, RadPort and RadWhere solutions, developed in studies at Massachusetts General Hospital, are designed, he said, to help them “tighten up the process.”

“In medicine today, the idea behind managing and utilization of high-cost imaging studies … is a big issue,” he said.

“The medical imaging industry is becoming more focused on responding to the increased requirements related to cost containment, quality assurance and outcomes measurement,” he added in a press release announcing the deal. “Healthcare provider organizations’ priorities are shifting beyond basic imaging exam execution to prioritize advanced workflow optimization, radiologist productivity and data analytics.”

After announcing the deal for Commissure, Nuance officials didn’t take too long to rest on their laurels. Roughly two weeks later the company announced an agreement to acquire Vocada, Inc., which offers the Veriphy critical test result management solution to hospital diagnostic departments as a service-as-a-solution model.

“Because of the impact on the cost and quality of healthcare, increased requirements related to clinical communications management among caregivers is raising to the forefront of healthcare provider organizations,” said Peter White, Vocada’s CEO. “By combining forces with Dictaphone, we can tap into new capabilities and resources … to improve clinical communications and minimize risks, such as malpractice cases, accidental deaths and high costs associated with poor communication.”