Leveraging AI to Mitigate Staffing Shortages in Healthcare

Jan 25, 2022 | Blogs

Even before the pandemic, healthcare organizations nationwide were struggling with staffing shortages, especially of nurses and physicians, due to stress and burnout. COVID-19 has only intensified the issue. The purpose of this blog is to explore the challenges and how organizations can use automated medical documentation solutions to reduce burnout and mitigate the impact.

We can all agree that having access to the patient’s record at the point of care is essential for care quality. However, managing that data has turned physicians and nurses into data entry clerks. In a time when staffing shortages are wreaking havoc on healthcare organizations nationwide, wouldn’t it be better if we could remove that burden and allow physicians and nurses to do what they do best: Caring for patients? New technology presents a great opportunity to do just that.

Augmedix has developed automated medical documentation solutions that streamline and automate data capture within the electronic health record (EHR), alleviating the need for physicians or nurses to spend time staring at a computer and clicking through screen after screen instead of interacting with patients during the patient encounter.

How it works

Physicians or nurses log into a HIPAA-secured Augmedix Ambient Automation Platform via a smartphone or Google Glass. The platform leverages natural language processing (NLP) and automatic speech recognition (ASR) to extract clinical data from the natural patient-physician conversation and leverages machine learning (ML) combined with medical datasets to generate structured, comprehensive medical notes that are transferred to the patient’s EHR. Quality is assured by trained medical documentation specialists (MDS).

Throughout the encounter, the MDS can customize the automated data as needed while also adding relevant observations manually. An MDS can also reduce gaps in data by reminding the physician or nurse of the need to capture missing data like medication history or allergies. They can also suggest reminders about overdue vaccinations or other preventative measures.

At the end of the visit, Augmedix allows the physician or nurse to dictate medical decisions into the system to complete the note. From there, the Augmedix platform organizes and structures the visit data into an accurate, complete medical note for the patient encounter, which is then uploaded to the EHR for the physician’s approval and sign off.

In some situations, the MDS can provide live clinical support as well by ordering labs, tests and medications as well as managing referrals and patient reminders. They can even manage charge capture to ensure accurate reimbursement. In a hospital setting, they can manage admissions, discharges and transfers.

An Augmedix success story

Dr. Seneca Dewar is a primary care physician who was overwhelmed with mandated EHR documentation and spent most of his weekends on data entry. He was typically spending more than 20 hours a week completing his patient notes and was increasingly burdened by the documentation.

Since Dr. Dewar started working with Augmedix, he finishes his patient notes every day and dedicates an additional four hours to his clinic time each week. He no longer works after hours and is able to spend his reclaimed time with his family. Overall, he has enjoyed his experience on the Augmedix platform and values working with his MDS.

A new approach

Today’s EHR workflows are driving inefficiencies. By leveraging technology to alleviate this administrative burden, physicians and nurses can spend more time with patients while at the office and more time with their families at home. It’s a win-win for everyone.