January 22, 2024

What healthcare systems and providers need to know about AI scribes and ambient listening

Everyone everywhere is talking about artificial intelligence. In healthcare, it's easy to imagine a sterile, futuristic setting of robot doctors running operating rooms and empty front desks replaced by check-in kiosks. The reality of the arrival of artificial intelligence (to a very antiquated communication system) is slightly less Jane Jetson in scrubs, but no less game-changing.

As healthcare experiments with different ways of employing AI, the most popular and foundationally transformative use is its ability to capture and record information in a fraction of the time it takes a human to do the same. AI scribes and ambient listening technologies work to "hear" information, transcribe it, and record it in a ready-to-use format for busy physicians who need every extra second they can get.

How ambient listening works

At its most basic, ambient listening works like a more sophisticated version of Alexa. When physicians speak with their patients, ambient listening technology records the conversation in real-time and then transcribes those conversations, automatically formatting them into ready-to-use instructions and records.

These new AI features' most significant benefits are time savings, improved patient outcomes, and cut costs. With clinician burnout at an all-time high and the documentation process stuck in pen-and-paper purgatory, AI scribes and ambient listening are compelling solutions. With physicians' workloads lightened, a domino effect of positive impacts on health systems will result.

What to look for in an AI scribe or ambient listening tool

Not all AI is created equally. When considering an AI solution, focus on accuracy, integration capabilities, workflow efficiency, and data security. Healthcare systems and clinicians should look for AI tools that demonstrate high accuracy in medical conversations, medical context, and terminology and the power to differentiate between accents, speech patterns, and medical jargon.

Any AI platform worth its’ weight in time should enhance and support clinical documentation processes and boost standards of care and compliance. That means EMR/EHR integration, quantifiable results in reducing clinician burnout, workflows, overall efficiency, and stringent data security measures, including HIPAA compliance.

What's next for healthcare and AI

Sure, AI scribes are having a moment now, and deservedly so, but the most essential question health systems and practitioners should be asking isn't "What now?" but "What's next?" This transformative leap in capability isn’t limited to provider administrative tasks but promises impactful solutions for longstanding pain points like patient engagement, retention, and lost revenue. For example, Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City reported the highest patient satisfaction scores in a decade after implementing Playback Health features like automated discharge instructions and patient journey automation, asynchronous communication, and ambient listening tools.

This new technology helps tell each patient's medical story in one organized place, giving patients brand new agency for taking care of themselves and choosing who to trust to help them do so. AI isn’t just about optimization; it signals a new era where technology meets patient needs and makes them an active collaborator in their care plan.

By March of 2023, nearly half of the nation’s health systems reported introducing AI to daily workflows, and those numbers are only increasing. With improved patient outcomes, enhanced operational efficiency, and cost savings, AI-driven solutions will smooth the road toward integration into various facets of healthcare, from billing to decision support to patient engagement.

Playback Health’s secure clinical intelligence tools transform patient-provider conversations into EMR-ready clinical notes and patient follow-up summaries, cutting documentation time in half. Get more time to care now. Start using Playback Notes for free today.