Sutter Health, Suki partner to pilot AI-driven EHR assistant

Not-for-profit network Sutter Health and AI company Suki are partnering to deliver an AI-powered, voice-enabled digital assistant for doctors in Northern California.

Sutter Health enlisted Suki’s services less than a year after its launch in May 2018, according to a release. Results from one-year pilots across medical specialities found the technology—which uses a combination of voice commands from physicians and the context in which they’re operating to create clinically accurate notes that are then published to an EHR—cut the amount of time physicians spent on medical notes by up to 70 percent.

“Maximizing the amount of time clinicians spend with patients while reducing the documentation burden on our clinicians is a strategic and tactical priority,” Howard Landa, MD, VP of clinical informatics and EHR for Sutter Health, said in the release. “Personalized care paired with digital assistant tools will enhance care delivery and have a positive impact on health outcomes for our consumers, which is what really matters.”

He said Sutter Health plans to introduce Suki into three clinical areas at first, including primary care, dermatology and orthopedics. The assistant distills a physician’s conversations with a patient into an actionable plan and hones those plans over time as it learns more about clinical practice guidelines and the doctor’s individual preferences, vocabulary and style.

According to Sutter Health, the assistant streamlines the data within a patient’s EHR, helping to form the most appropriate care plan for that individual. Right now Suki is being used five days a week across three EHRs, accounting for more than 1,000 patient interactions every week.

Ideally, Sutter Health will use the assistant to cut the time physicians spend on their notes. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2016 found that for every hour of direct clinical facetime with a patient, physicians spend almost an additional two hours on medical paperwork.

“We are excited to work with Sutter network doctors to help ease the burden of administrative work like medical charting and to give doctors time back in their day,” Suki CEO and co-founder Punit Soni said in the release. “Through this collaboration, we will expand our footprint into new specialties, allowing Suki to master new skills from one of the most tech-savvy health systems in the country.”