VA to use Nuance product


Word from the speech-to-text corner of the tech industry is that the U.S. Veterans Affairs system has just gotten approval to use Nuance medical software in its extensive operations.


The Associated Press reports that after receiving FedRamp approval for the project, the VA is planning to integrate the company’s speech-to-text program into clinical charting systems. The FedRamp program was created to provide standardized cloud strategies for federal government offices.


“Helping frontline VA clinicians save time and provide the highest quality of care for patients has been our clear focus,” said Diana Nole, Nuance executive vice president and general manager of healthcare in a press statement. “The combination of our cloud-based platforms, secure application framework and deep experience working with the VA health system made it possible for us to demonstrate our compliance with FedRAMP to meet the needs of the U.S. Government. … While our strong sense of mission and purpose in serving critical healthcare organizations and businesses already is very clear, it becomes amplified knowing that our technology solutions are playing a role in caring for our nation’s veterans.”


The VA’s new adoption follows a pretty remarkable history on the part of Nuance Dragon and successive versions of the company’s speech-to-text software applications.


What insiders have found over the years is that Nuance has really dominated the speech-to-text market. No other single brand-name emerged to rival Nuance Dragon until very late in the game, when operating system developers created their own voice command personal assistants Siri and Cortana.


That market dominance is evident in the numbers: for example, Jim Salter at Ars Tecnica reports Nuance is used by 77% of America’s hospitals currently.


So it makes sense that Microsoft, a dominant name brand in its own right, moved to acquire Nuance this past April at a cost of $56 per share, or $16 billion.


“Unlike Microsoft’s checkered past of bold acquisitions, this one’s different,” wrote Joanna Makris at InvestorPlace at the time. “With the potential to integrate natural language understanding, MSFT is about to change the way we think about our computers: a world where they can see, hear, talk and understand as humans.”


Expect this junction of two monolithic software companies to continue to conquer the speech-to-text market as this type of interface becomes more a part of what we do both online and offline every day.