Microsoft and Epic expand AI collaboration to accelerate generative AI’s impact in healthcare, addressing the industry’s most pressing needs

| Eric Boyd, Corporate Vice President, AI Platform, Microsoft

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Today, the promise of technology to help us solve some of the biggest challenges we face has never been more tangible, and nowhere is generative AI more needed, and possibly more impactful, than in healthcare. Epic and Microsoft have been paving the way to bring generative AI to the forefront of the healthcare industry. Together, we are working to help clinicians better serve their patients and are addressing some of the most urgent needs, from workforce burnout to staffing shortages.

We combined Microsoft’s large-scale cloud and AI technologies with Epic’s deep understanding of the healthcare industry and clinical workflows to address many current issues affecting clinicians. Today, we are announcing the expansion of our strategic initiative to bring AI to healthcare at scale, integrating conversational, ambient and generative AI technologies across the Epic electronic health record (EHR) ecosystem. Intended to speed development of solutions for healthcare’s most critical needs, the initiative will expand secure access to AI-powered clinical insights and administrative tools within a wide range of Epic modules to enhance patient care, increase operational efficiency, improve healthcare experiences, and support the financial integrity of health systems globally.

We are working together to rapidly deploy dozens of copilot solutions that securely unlock the potential value that the Microsoft Cloud and our AI technologies enable as health systems strive to overcome the urgent staffing, financial and clinical access challenges they face today. Epic will showcase many of these new capabilities that build on our Azure OpenAI Service and Nuance DAX Express solutions at its annual Users Group Meeting today, including:

  • Enhancing clinician productivity with note summarization: Building on the previously announced AI-assisted Epic In Basket, the new solutions are targeted at increasing clinical efficiency for physicians and nurses, helping them become more productive in their daily clinical workflow. The solutions will help support faster documentation through suggested text and rapid review with in-context summaries.
  • Enhancing clinician productivity with embedded ambient clinical documentation: Leveraging Nuance’s Dragon Ambient eXperience (DAX) technology, which is already deployed with hundreds of Epic customers and currently supporting thousands of physicians, Epic will showcase this DAX Express AI technology embedded into the native Epic Hyperdrive platform and Haiku mobile application, further enhancing a seamless workflow experience for users. In addition, Nuance has been named by Epic as one of the first Partners in Epic’s Partner and Pals third-party vendor program.
  • Driving administrative efficiencies through reduction in manual, labor intensive processes: Revenue cycle management is one of many areas where generative AI can meaningfully improve efficiency. For example, Epic will demonstrate an AI-powered solution that provides medical coding staff with suggestions based on clinical documentation in the EHR to improve accuracy and streamline the entire coding and billing processes.
  • Advancing medicine for better patient outcomes: By using Azure OpenAI Service, Epic is now delivering generative AI exploration for an initial set of users via SlicerDicer to fill gaps in clinical evidence using real-world data and to study rare diseases and more.

Our work to integrate Azure OpenAI Service and Nuance ambient technologies within the Epic ecosystem shows that broader strategic collaborations can rapidly accelerate the availability of actionable AI-driven solutions for healthcare organizations and the patients they serve.

By 2025, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services predicts that there will be a nationwide shortage of 90,000 physicians. Additionally, 40% to 60% of clinicians report they are experiencing burnout. On top of these challenges, healthcare providers are facing financial pressures while also trying to efficiently and effectively deliver quality care. According to McKinsey & Company, nearly a quarter of U.S. national health expenditure goes toward administrative costs, which could be reduced through technology.

Additionally, the urgent need to improve operational and clinical efficiency was highlighted again in a recent UPMC Center for Connected Medicine/KLAS Research survey of 58 executives at provider and payor organizations. The survey found that health systems are prioritizing investments over the next two years in AI solutions focusing on operational optimization, health/disease management and prediction, diagnostic imaging, population health management, value-based care, patient engagement and clinical research.

Epic and Microsoft’s expanded collaboration will build upon our recently announced integrations, including Azure OpenAI Service into Epic’s EHR to automatically draft message responses, as well as a solution that will bring natural language queries and interactive data analysis to SlicerDicer, Epic’s self-service reporting tool. Microsoft and Nuance also recently collaborated to integrate Nuance® Dragon® Ambient eXperience™ Express (DAX Express™) solution into the Epic platform with a comprehensive approach to incorporating a broader array of AI-powered capabilities for clinical and administrative users.

Epic’s approach to leveraging Microsoft’s technology and infrastructure is unprecedented in time and scope. Together, we are bringing generative AI to healthcare at scale as quickly as possible, responsibly and in partnership with providers, in order to address the ongoing issues affecting healthcare.

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