Microsoft and leading EMR supplier Epic on Monday announced a far-reaching partnership to integrate generative AI services into electronic health records.  

The companies claimed that the incorporation of generative AI tools, through Azure OpenAI Service, into EMR and workflows for non-clinical tasks has the potential to free clinician time, reduce administrative tasks and improve both clinician and patient satisfaction. 

The collaboration, which builds on a long-standing collaboration between the two companies, spans a range of generative AI-powered solutions integrated with Epic’s EHR to increase productivity, enhance patient care and improve the financial position of health systems globally.

The collaboration also expands the long-standing partnership, which includes enabling organizations to run Epic within the Microsoft Azure cloud environment.  Oracle, which acquired Epic’s main rival Cerner in 2022, is also working to move EMR clients into its proprietary Oracle cloud. 

Microsoft, which is a key investor in OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, has also been incorporating OpenAI technology and services into Nuance, the natural language processing company it acquired for $19.2 billion in March 2022.   

Last month Nuance launched DAX Express the latest version of its ambient AI natural language processing tool that can automatically turn a consultation into a structured record.     

Under the new partnership with Epic, one of the initial generative AI solutions focuses on automatically drafting message responses to patients. The tool is already being used by UC San Diego Health, UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, and Stanford Health Care 

Chero Goswami, chief information officer at UW Health, said: “Integrating generative AI into some of our daily workflows will increase productivity for many of our providers, allowing them to focus on the clinical duties that truly require their attention.” 

Another solution will bring natural language queries and interactive data analysis to SlicerDicer, Epic’s self-service reporting tool, helping clinical leaders explore data through conversational voice queries. 

“Our exploration of OpenAI’s GPT-4 has shown the potential to increase the power and accessibility of self-service reporting through SlicerDicer,” said Seth Hain, senior vice president of R&D at Epic. 

Eric Boyd, corporate vice president, AI Platform, Microsoft, said in a press notice: “Our expanded partnership builds on a long history of collaboration between Microsoft, Nuance and Epic, including our work to help healthcare organizations migrate their Epic environments to Azure. Together we can help providers deliver significant clinical and business outcomes leveraging the power of the Microsoft Cloud and Epic.” 

Microsoft makes clear that Azure and Azure OpenAI Service, including any of its component technologies, is intended for general-purpose use and is not intended or made available as a medical device, a diagnostic tool, or as a substitute for the professional clinical advice or opinion.