Nextech Named 2024 Best in KLAS: Ambulatory Specialty EHR

«  View All Posts


How AI Makes EHRs Better

By: Nextech | May 22nd, 2024

How AI Makes EHRs Better Blog Feature

While many of the use cases for artificial intelligence in healthcare are still in their early stages, the technology is rapidly making inroads in specialty medical clinics.

The challenge is truly understanding what is fact, and what is fantasy?

Electronic health records (EHRs) are an ideal way to introduce AI to a practice. Their use spans both clinical and administrative staff, and they can automate many routine tasks.

The potential upsides of adopting AI are tremendous, particularly for small and specialty practices. Automating administrative tasks reduces onboarding time for new hires and allows clinics to thrive with a lean staff.

With the World Economic Forum predicting a deficit of 10 million workers in the healthcare field by 2030, using staff time wisely is more important than ever. Technology like electronic health records equipped with AI helps practices have higher quality interactions with more patients in less time without straining human resources.

Providers worrying how their patients will feel about AI in the clinic should not let that prevent them from pursuing it. Public opinion rapidly changes when the value of automating everyday experiences becomes personal.

In a recent survey, nearly one-third of patients said they would be comfortable with AI leading a routine primary care appointment.

Nextech is at the forefront of this new era. We’re developing tools that use generative AI in our EHR to improve the way clinic providers, staff, and patients experience healthcare.

How Can AI Benefit Healthcare Providers?

EHRs incorporating AI enable better patient outcomes while allowing providers to keep costs low and operate efficiently.

  • Better decisions – Artificial intelligence helps clinicians make faster, more informed decisions. This leads to more accurate diagnoses and earlier implementation of treatment plans.
  • More face time with patients – AI tools allow an EHR to perform routine form-filling and record-keeping automatically. Freed from the burden of charting and note taking, providers can focus on interacting with their patients.
  • More efficient workflows – Delegating repetitive tasks to an AI tool frees up clinic staff to focus on more important work and eliminates bottlenecks that slow down the workday.

Faster, More Accurate Decision Making

Providers are often forced to rely solely on their judgment in complex scenarios, especially in a solo practice.

An AI-enabled EHR provides clinical decision support, allowing for faster and more informed decisions. And with AI-driven interpretation of diagnostic tests, clinicians can be alerted to early-stage conditions they might otherwise have missed.

For example, diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of preventable blindness. AI analysis of fundus photography can screen patients at the primary care level, leading to earlier referrals and interventions – which in turn leads to fewer patients losing their sight.

“Diabetes can be a debilitating and costly disease, with a huge impact on the cost of medical care in the U.S. and worldwide,” said Dr. Jason Handza, Nextech’s Chief Medical Officer. “AI-driven screening can have a substantial impact on the disease’s course, and it is FDA-approved and reimbursable.”

Better Face-to-Face Patient Care

AI scribes allow providers to focus fully on patients, leading to better outcomes and higher patient satisfaction.

Traditionally, providers would split precious appointment time between listening to the patient and entering notes in the EHR.

One solution has been to hire a medical scribe to take notes while the doctor and patient talk. These highly trained professionals are expensive to recruit and to keep. And of course, they can only be in one place at a time, so if your practice grows, the number of scribes has to keep up with the number of providers.


When your EHR is equipped with an AI scribe, however, each provider carries around their scribe on their tablet. The AI records the patient interaction, filters out non-medical content, and summarizes medical notes directly in the EHR.

Charts are completed faster and more accurately, while enabling the provider to spend more valuable face-to-face time with their patient. 

More Efficient Clinic Operations

AI tools can do wonders to free up the time and energy of a clinic’s administrative staff.

AI virtual assistants and chatbots dramatically reduce inbound call volume. Available around the clock, these intelligent automations keep front desk staff off the phone and on higher priority tasks. For example, Nextech has developed an AI virtual assistant that will soon be able to successfully handle up to 85% of routine conversations.

Automated scheduling tools make it easy for patients to book their own appointments online, and for the clinic to manage scheduling changes like delays and cancellations.

Based on the information in the EHR, coding tools can suggest procedure and diagnosis codes, saving staff from searching for the right code. Automated claim scrubbing reduces claim rejections by as much as 95%.

Artificial intelligence also tracks and adapts to changing regulatory requirements. This helps practices maximize their reimbursements while reducing the burden of reporting for compliance.


How Can AI Tools Benefit Patients?

When a medical practice incorporates an AI-assisted EHR, patients ultimately benefit. The technology empowers patients to have a greater voice in their healthcare, expands their access to treatment options, and improves their likely outcomes. 

Better Patient Engagement

Modern consumers are used to having information at their fingertips. AI tools in EHRs help medical practices meet that expectation.

AI chatbots are available 24/7 to answer a patient’s questions. Instead of turning to a Google search to ask how to alleviate symptoms, they can get accurate information from a trusted source – their provider’s website.

Screen Recording 2024-05-21 at 2.34.23 PM (1)

Patients are also the ultimate beneficiary of increased practice efficiency. As AI tools enable faster charting and patient processing, practices can see more patients per day without straining providers’ schedules. Ultimately, this opens up appointments and reduces patient wait times.

Expanded Treatment Options

AI can search a clinic’s EHR for patients who might benefit from newly approved treatments. Providers can proactively reach out to patients who wouldn’t have been seen otherwise and offer them a more effective course of treatment.

Intelligent tools can also cross-reference EHR data, diagnostic testing results, and criteria for current clinical trials to identify candidates for research studies.

This enables more people to benefit from treatments in clinical trials as well as providing a potential new revenue stream for providers.

Better Health Outcomes

AI can proactively analyze a patient’s electronic health record to identify early warning signs of health issues. Providers can arrange intervention or referral before acute symptoms even manifest.

Predictive analytics can statistically predict outcomes and identify high-risk individuals, improving providers’ clinical decision making and leading to better patient outcomes.

AI tools can also enable healthcare screenings in areas with limited access to specialists. For example, rural clinics and those in regions underserved by ophthalmologists are already using AI-enabled diabetic retinopathy screening to prevent blindness.

The Challenges of Employing AI in Healthcare Responsibly

We believe artificial intelligence is creating a net positive in healthcare. Like any new tool, the key is for technology vendors, medical practices, and the healthcare industry as a whole to employ it responsibly.

The chief concern for many providers is accuracy. Taken as a whole, AI tools improve the accuracy of EHRs. However, poorly developed algorithms can perpetuate biases and hallucinate information to fill gaps in their training data.

If a human has to review every AI output for accuracy, it erases the original gains. The solution is to closely investigate developers of AI tools and how they train their models. It’s critical to assess the inputs and processes the models use to generate their outputs.

Vendors and practices must also remain vigilant when it comes to patient privacy. Patient data should be safeguarded from unauthorized access, whether that’s by humans or AI.

Nextech employs some of the best security measures available. By building privacy protections directly into our EHR and software solutions, we’ve made security the default.

Medical practices are challenged to employ AI as a data point, not a qualified second opinion. With widespread adoption, there is a risk of healthcare personnel making clinical decisions based on AI interpretations they can’t validate.

AI is a valuable aid in diagnosis and treatment decisions, but it is incapable of considering the full nuance of an individual patient’s health. A qualified human should always be in the loop to validate and approve any AI-generated directions.

Practices also must be wary of technology vendors attempting to capitalize on the buzz surrounding AI without actually having the authentic capability in their software. These companies may promote their product's AI features in an attempt to appear innovative, but in reality, true AI capabilities aren't there. It's a misleading strategy that undermines genuine AI-driven solutions on the market and erodes the public trust in healthcare.

Finally, there’s the responsibility of the industry itself. The rapid advancement of AI means the industry should move quickly to establish clear data privacy standards, reliable means of testing algorithms, and accessible training on the proper and ethical use of AI in healthcare.

The Future of AI in Healthcare

Artificial intelligence cannot replace healthcare workers. Their empathy, intuition, and expertise are vital to patient experience and outcomes.

What AI can do is extract and analyze complex data to help those workers provide better care.

  • AI’s ability to combine data from multiple sources – such as EHRs and genomics – opens the door to truly personalized medicine. Clinicians will be able to better predict a patient’s response for more effective treatment plans.
  • Predictive analytics will be invaluable in improving population health. With the help of AI, providers will be better able to predict outbreaks, identify high-risk populations, and optimize resource management.
  • Responsibly implemented AI will be a tremendous boon to patients. Instead of Googling symptoms, they will find relevant, personalized information in their patient portal. AI’s ability to streamline the back-end operations of a medical practice will manifest to patients as easier access to appointments, smoother visits, and more quality face time with their provider.

We’re excited about the potential AI has to impact providers in the dermatology, med spa, ophthalmology, and plastic surgery specialties. Schedule a demo to explore what our tools can do.