Virtual assistants will drastically change health care, a Nuance survey of doctors finds

A survey of doctors from Nuance Communications Inc. found that 80 percent of respondents believe that virtual assistants that use voice-recognition software will “drastically change” how they interact and use electronic health records other health care apps.

Headquartered in Burlington, Nuance specializes in voice-recognition technology, and doctors and hospitals are an important customer group. Worldwide, more than 450,000 doctors are using products that incorporate its technology, Nuance said.

According to its survey, nearly a third of the doctors said at least 30 percent of their work day is eaten up administrative duties. Voice-enabled virtual assistants have the potential to shrink that amount and free up doctors to spend more time with patients, Nuance said in its press release.


One way for doctors to save time in performing their administrative duties is by using voice-driven, computerized physician order entry systems. Such systems can help with ordering medications, lab work, and radiology exams.

“The technology exists today in Nuance to create a more intuitive way for doctors and patients to coordinate care and improve efficiency through dialogue-driven intelligent systems that hear, understand, and respond,” Joe Petro, senior vice president health care engineering and R&D at Nuance, said in a statement.

Chris Reidy can be reached at