News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel

News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
Sign In

Electronic Health Records Vendors Now Adding Generative AI to Their Products

One goal of these new functions is to streamline physician workflows. However, these new EHRs may interface differently with clinical laboratory information systems

Artificial intelligence (AI) developers are making great contributions in clinical laboratory, pathology, radiology, and other areas of healthcare. Now, Electronic Health Record (EHR) developers are looking into ways to incorporate a new type of AI—called “Generative AI”—into their EHR products to assist physicians with time-consuming and repetitive administrative tasks and help them focus on patient-centered care. 

Generative AI uses complex algorithms and statistical models to learn patterns from collected data. It then generates new content, including text, images, and audio/video information.

According to the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO), generative AI “has potential applications across a wide range of fields, including education, government, medicine, and law” and that “a research hospital is piloting a generative AI program to create responses to patient questions and reduce the administrative workload of healthcare providers.”

Reducing the workload on doctors and other medical personnel is a key goal of the EHR developers.

Generative AI uses deep learning neural networks modeled after the human brain comprised of layers of connected nodes that process data. It employs two neural networks: a generator [generative network] which creates new content, and a discriminator [discriminative network] which evaluates the quality of that content.

The collected information is entered into the network where each individual node processes the data and passes it on to the next layer. The last layer in the process produces the final output. 

Many EHR companies are working toward adding generative AI into their platforms, including:

As our sister publication The Dark Report points out in its December 26 “Top 10 Biggest Lab Stories for 2023,” almost every product or service presented to a clinical laboratory or pathology group will soon include an AI-powered solution.

Girish Navani

“We believe that generative AI has the potential of being a personal assistant for every doctor, and that’s what we’re working on,” Girish Navani (above), co-founder and CEO of eClinicalWorks, told EHRIntelligence. “It could save hours. You capture the essence of the entire conversation without touching a keyboard. It is transformational in how it works and how well it presents the information back to the provider.” Clinical laboratory information systems may also benefit from connecting with generative AI-based EHRs. (Photo copyright: eClinicalWorks.)

Generative AI Can Help with Physician Burnout

One of the beneficial features of generative AI is that it has the ability to “listen” to a doctor’s conversation with a patient while recording it and then produce clinical notes. The physician can then review, edit, and approve those notes to enter into the patient’s EHR record, thus streamlining administrative workflows.

“The clinician or support team essentially has to take all of the data points that they’ve got in their head and turn that into a narrative human response,” Phil Lindemann, Vice President of Data and Analytics at Epic, told EHRIntelligence. “Generative AI can draft a response that the clinician can then review, make changes as necessary, and then send to the patient.”

By streamlining and reducing workloads, EHRs that incorporate generative AI may help reduce physician burnout, which has been increasing since the COVID-19 pandemic.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Informatics Association (JAMIA) titled, “Association of Physician Burnout with Perceived EHR Work Stress and Potentially Actionable Factors,” examined physician burnout associated with EHR workload factors at UC San Diego Health System. The researchers found that nearly half of surveyed doctors reported “burnout symptoms” and an increase in stress levels due to EHR processes. 

“Language models have a huge potential in impacting almost every workflow,” Girish Navani, co-founder and CEO of eClinicalWorks, told EHRIntelligence. “Whether it’s reading information and summarizing it or creating the right type of contextual response, language models can help reduce cognitive load.”

Generative AI can also translate information into many different languages. 

“Health systems spend a lot of time trying to make patient education and different things available in certain languages, but they’ll never have every language possible,” Lindemann said. “This technology can take human language, translate it at any reading level in any language, and have it understandable.”

MEDITECH is working on a generative AI project to simplify clinical documentation with an emphasis on hospital discharge summaries that can be very laborious and time-consuming for clinicians.

“Providers are asked to go in and review previous notes and results and try to bring that all together,” Helen Waters, Executive Vice President and COO of MEDITECH, told EHRIntelligence. “Generative AI can help auto-populate the discharge note by bringing in the discrete information that would be most relevant to substantiate that narrative and enable time savings for those clinicians.”

Many Applications for Generative AI in Healthcare

According to technology consulting and solutions firm XenonStack, generative AI has many potential applications in healthcare including:

  • Medical simulation
  • Drug discovery
  • Medical chatbots
  • Medical imaging
  • Medical research
  • Patient care
  • Disease diagnosis
  • Personalized treatment plans

The technology is currently in its early stages and does present challenges, such as lack of interpretability, the need for large datasets and more transparency, and ethical concerns, all of which will need to be addressed. 

“We see it as a translation tool,” Lindemann told EHRIntelligence. “It’s not a panacea, but there’s going to be really valuable use cases, and the sooner the community can agree on that, the more useful the technology’s going to be.”

Since generative AI can be used to automate manual work processes, clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups should be alert to opportunities to interface their LISs with referring physicians’ EHRs. Such interfaces may enable the use of the generative AI functions to automate manual processes in both the doctors’ offices and the labs.

—JP Schlingman

Related Information:

How Four EHR Vendors Are Leveraging Generative AI in Clinical Workflows

NextGen Healthcare Unveils NextGen Ambient Assist, an AI Solution Designed to Boost Provider Efficiency

Science and Tech Spotlight: Generative Ai

What is Generative AI? Everything You Need to Know

Generative AI Could Revolutionize Health Care—But Not if Control is Ceded to Big Tech

Generative AI in Healthcare and Its Uses—Complete Guide

Association of Physician Burnout with Perceived EHR Work Stress and Potentially Actionable Factors

Australia’s NSW Health Chooses Epic for its Statewide Patient EHR

Five clinical laboratory information systems are part of the transition that will create a single statewide EMR for all New South Wales patients

In a massive project, Australia’s New South Wales Ministry of Health (NSW Health) has selected health information system developer Epic to unify its five pathology laboratory information management systems (LIMS), nine electronic medical record systems (EMR), and six patient administration systems (PAS) into a statewide single digital patient record (SDPR).

According to ITnews, providers in New South Wales currently use LIMS systems by Citadel Health and Integrated Software Solutions OMNI-Lab, EMR systems by Oracle Cerner and Orion Health, and patient administration systems from Oracle Cerner and DXC.

“The SDPR will consolidate geographically fragmented EMR, PAS, and LIMS systems to create a detailed lifelong patient record and deliver cost savings,” NSW Health said in a news release.

NSW Health is the largest public health system in Australia with more than 220 public hospitals, 16 Local Health Districts, and three Specialty Networks. NSW Health Pathology operates more than 60 pathology laboratories (clinical laboratories in the US) and has 150 patient service centers.

Andrew Montague

“While this initiative will provide untold benefits to all the patients of NSW, we are excited about its potential for improving the health outcomes of our regional patients,” said Andrew Montague (above), former Chief Executive, Central Coast Local Health District in a press release. “By enabling greater collaboration across all local health districts and specialty health networks, the Single Digital Patient Record will provide clinicians with even better tools to keep the patient at the center of everything we do.” This project is more market evidence of the trend to bring clinical laboratory test results from multiple lab sites into a single data repository. (Photo copyright: Coast Community News.)

Cloud-based Realtime Access to Patient Records

Australia has a population of about 26 million and New South Wales, a state on the east coast, is home to more than eight million people. Though the scale of healthcare in Australia is much smaller than in the US, this is still a major project to pull patient data together from all the NSW hospitals, physicians’ offices, and other healthcare providers such as clinical laboratories and pathology practices.

With the change, NSW clinicians will benefit from a cloud–based system offering up real-time access to patients’ medical records, NSW Health Pathology Chief Executive Tracey McCosker told ITnews.

“Patients and our busy staff will benefit from clinical insights gained from the capture of important new data. Our work in pathology is vital to the diagnostic process and developing a statewide laboratory information management system will ensure we provide the best possible services,” McCosker told ITnews.

The KLAS Research report, “US Hospital Market Share 2022,” states that Epic, located in Verona, Wisconsin, has the largest US electronic health record (EHR) market share, Healthgrades noted. According to KLAS:

NSW Health’s decision to engage Epic came after a process involving 350 clinicians, scientists, and technical experts, Zoran Bolevich, MD, Chief Executive of eHealth NSW and NSW Health’s Chief Information Officer, told ITnews.  

NSW Health’s Goal for Statewide Digital Patient Record

It was in December 2020 when NSW Health announced its plan to create the SDPR. 

“Our vision is to be able to provide a single, holistic, statewide view of every patient—and for that information to be readily accessible to anyone involved in the patient’s care,” Bolevich said in the news release.

The SDPR, according to NSW Health, will address the following:    


  • Current systems not connected statewide.
  • Inaccessible patient data.
  • Duplicative data collection.
  • Gaps in decision-making.


  • Improve health outcomes.
  • Create patient centricity.
  • Leverage insights.

NSW’s government has already invested more than $106 million in the SDPR, Healthcare IT News reported.

Other Large EHR Rollouts

NSW Health is not the only large organization to take on such an ambitious project of creating a large-scale digital patient record. And not always to a successful conclusion.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)—also intent on EHR modernization—recently announced it is suspending roll-out of the Oracle Cerner EHR at VA centers until June 2023 to address technical issues affecting appointments, referrals, and test results.

Four VA centers in Washington, Oregon, and Ohio already went live with the system in 2022.

“We are delaying all future deployments of the new EHR while we fully assess performance and address every concern. Veterans and clinicians deserve a seamless, modernized health record system, and we will not rest until they get it,” said Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Donald Remy, JD, in a news release.

For its part, Oracle Cerner wrote federal lawmakers noting the importance of continuing the project, which will move the VA away from its former VistA health information system. 

“Modernization requires change and some short-term pain for the long-term benefits of a modern technology infrastructure,” noted Oracle Cerner Executive Vice President Ken Glueck in the letter, Becker’s Health IT reported. “A modernization project of this scale and scope necessarily involves time to untangle the decades of customized processes established in support of VistA, which inevitably involves challenges.”

NSW Health’s goal is to build a single repository of health information—including lab test results from multiple clinical laboratory sites. When finished NSW Health expects that sharing patient data will contribute to producing better healthcare outcomes.

However, the VA’s experience—and several other similar attempts at large-scale electronic patient record installations—suggest the work ahead will not be easy. But for NSW Health, it may be worth the effort.   

—Donna Marie Pocius

Related Information:

NSW Health Taps Epic for Statewide, Single Digital Patient Record

Single Digital Patient Record Set to Deliver Vastly Improved Patient Experience

NSW Health to Partner with Epic in the Next Step Towards its Digital Healthcare System

US Hospital Market Share 2022: Strong Purchasing Energy across Large, Small, and Standalone Hospitals

EHR Market Share 2021: 10 Things to Know About Major Players Epic, Cerner, Meditech and Allscripts

Single Digital Patient Record (SDPR)

New South Wales Invests $106 Million in Single EMR System

Kalorama Report Analyzes Global EMR/EHR Market as Tech Giants Apple, Google, and Microsoft Prepare to Launch Their Own Offerings. Will This Alter Current Conditions for Clinical Laboratories and Pathologists?

While approaches differ between the three companies, heavy investment in EMR/EHR and other HIT solutions could signal significant changes ahead for a market currently dominated by only a few major developers

If healthcare big data is truly a disruptive force in healthcare’s transformation, then a big battle looms for control of that data. Some experts say that the companies now dominating the electronic health record (EHR) market will soon face tough competition from the world’s biggest tech companies.

Until recently, most clinical laboratories, anatomic pathology groups, hospitals, and other healthcare providers have depended on EHR systems from just a handful of health information technology (HIT) developers. But tech giants Google, Apple, and Microsoft have been filing hundreds of HIT related patents since 2013 and appear poised to compete on a large scale for a chunk of the EMR/EHR/HIT market, according to coverage in EHR Intelligence of Kalorama Information’sEMR 2018: The Market for Electronic Medical Records” report.

How this will impact medical laboratories and pathology practices remains to be seen. Labs are sure to be influenced by coming events, since clinical laboratory test data represents the largest proportion of an individual patient’s permanent medical record. It’s important to note, though, that while most EHR/HIT developers have been motivated by federal incentives, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) are motivated by consumer demand, which increasingly dictates the direction of health technology development.

Thus, they may be better positioned to compete moving forward, as patients, physicians, and hospitals turn to precision medicine and value-based care for improved outcomes and increased revenues.

“The EMR efforts have moved hospitals from paper to digital records,” Bruce Carlson (above), Publisher of Kalorama Information, told HIT Infrastructure. “The next step is for tech giants to glean the data and improve upon that infrastructure. We’ll be talking about EHR in different ways in the next ten years.” (Photo copyright: Twitter.)

EMR/EHR Market Poised for Disruption

According EHR Intelligence, as of 2017, 97% of all US non-federal acute care hospitals and 84% of US hospitals had adopted an EHR system. Of these hospitals, more than half (50.5%) use products from just two developers—Cerner or Epic. That’s according to Health Data Management’s coverage of the KLAS report “US Hospital EMR Market Share 2017.”

However, recent interest in HIT and EHR systems by major Silicon Valley tech companies could lead to potential disruptions in the current state of the market. According to The New York Times, in the first 11 months of 2017, 10 of the largest US technology companies were involved in healthcare equity deals worth $2.7-billion. This marks a drastic increase over the 2012 figure of $277-million.

Though each company is approaching the market differently, Google, Microsoft, and Apple are all working on projects that could influence how both consumers and healthcare professionals interact with and utilize medical record data.

Of the three, Apple is the most consumer-centric with their Apple Health personal health record (PHR) integration into Apple iOS for iPhones and iPads. Microsoft, however, is working on developing analytics tools and storage solutions aimed at healthcare providers in general. And Google, through its parent company Alphabet, is focusing on data processing and storage.

Amazon also is working on its own HIT project which it calls 1492. While details are scant, HIT Infrastructure reports that the project is focused on interoperability among disparate EHR systems to improve sharing of protected health information (PHI) between providers, patients, and other healthcare providers, such as clinical labs and pathology groups. HIT Infrastructure also reported on rumors of Amazon branching into telemedicine using their Amazon Echo and Alexa platforms.

Security Concerns and Opportunities for Clinical Laboratories

According to Computerworld’s coverage of IDC research, by 2020, 25% of patients are expected to be taking part in ‘bring your own data” healthcare scenarios. Tech-savvy medical laboratories could find opportunities to interact directly with patients and encourage follow-through on test orders or follow-up on routine testing.

However, shifting protected health information to devices carried by consumers is not without risks.

“How do I know the data won’t make its way to some cloud somewhere to be shared, sold, etc.” Jack Gold, Principal Analyst with J. Gold Associates, told Computerworld. “And if I rely on an app to tell me what to do—say, take my meds—and it somehow gets hacked, can it make me sick, or worse?”

These are important questions and developments, which Dark Daily has covered in other recent e-briefings. (See, “Apple Updates Its Mobile Health Apps, While Microsoft Shifts Its Focus to Artificial Intelligence. Both Will Transform Healthcare, But Which Will Impact Clinical Laboratories the Most?” July 25, 2018.)

Nevertheless, with tech giants already developing products for the consumer market and healthcare provider industry, it’s a given consumers will soon gain greater access to their own healthcare information. Whether patients will ultimately embrace it, how they will use it, and how developers will interact with the data, is still undefined. But it’s coming and clinical laboratories should be prepared.

—Jon Stone

Related Information:

Apple to Launch Health Records App with HL7’s FHIR Specifications at 12 Hospitals

How Google, Microsoft, Apple Are Impacting EHR Use in Healthcare

Microsoft, Apple, Google Secure HIT Infrastructure Patents

How Big Tech Is Going after Your Health Care

Amazon Secret Healthcare IT Tech Team Focuses on EHRs, Alexa

Apple’s Health Record API Released to Third-Party Developers; Is It Safe?

Apple, Cerner and Microsoft Are Interested in Buying AthenaHealth: Here’s Why This CEO Says They Won’t

Apple Says iOS Health Records Has over 75 Backers, Uses Open Standards

Report: Health Systems Share Apple Health Records Feedback

Apple Is Officially in the EHR Business. Now What?

Why Apple’s Move on Medical Records Marks a Tectonic Shift

Slideshow Where the Top 8 EMRs Are Deployed

Apple Updates Its Mobile Health Apps, While Microsoft Shifts Its Focus to Artificial Intelligence. Both Will Transform Healthcare, but Which Will Impact Clinical Laboratories the Most?

Apple’s Update of Its Mobile Health App Consolidates Data from Multiple EHRs and Makes It Easier to Push Clinical Laboratory Data to Patients

Top 10 Rankings of EHR Market Share Put Epic First as Hospitals, Physicians, and Clinical Laboratories Make Progress on Interoperability

In both the hospital market and the ambulatory market, Epic has the best-selling electronic health records system, according to data issued by ONCHIT

Across the nation, clinical laboratories and pathology groups are busy interfacing their laboratory information (LIS) systems to the electronic health record (EHR) systems of their client hospitals and physicians. Yet, few lab managers know which EHR systems are dominating the market and which EHR systems are barely surviving.

In fact, it can be a challenge to understand market share by vendor. That is because market share can be determined in multiple ways. Dark Daily found three different rankings of EHR vendors. Each was based on slightly different sets of data. (more…)

Big News in Clinical Laboratory Informatics as Roper Industries Agrees to Pay $1.4 Billion to Acquire Sunquest

Medical labs and pathology groups using Sunquest LIS products likely to see positive changes from Sunquest’s fourth change in ownership since 2001

In what is likely to be the biggest deal in clinical laboratory and pathology informatics for this year, Roper Industries, Inc. (NYSE: ROP), of Sarasota, Florida, will acquire Sunquest Information Systems, Inc., of Tucson, Arizona. The purchase price is an impressive $1.42 billion dollars and the deal was announced on Monday this week.

Roper Industries will get a lot for its money. Sunquest holds a significant share of the nation’s market for laboratory information systems (LIS). Sunquest has also built a substantial market share in anatomic pathology informatics, anchored by its CoPath and PowerPath products.

Sales Price of $1.42 Billion for Sunquest and Its Clinical Lab Software

What some may consider an eye-popping sales price of $1.42 billion for Sunquest demonstrates that investor interest in all aspects of the clinical laboratory testing marketplace remains strong. In its second quarter conference call, executives at Roper Industries told the financial analysts that, during 2013, they expect Sunquest to generate $140 million in EBITDA (Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization). If true, that would indicate that the sales price is based upon approximately a 10-times multiple of Sunquest’s EBIDTA. (more…)