Spin-off Utrecht University eases administrative burden of healthcare professionals

Automated medical reporting with speech recognition and AI language models

In the Netherlands, healthcare premiums have surged once more this year, with projections indicating a continuing upward trend. A viable approach to maintaining healthcare affordability involves alleviating the administrative burdens placed on healthcare professionals. With this objective in mind, a team comprising three former students alongside Professor Sjaak Brinkkemper initiated the startup Verticai. Originating from the Utrecht research programme Care2Report, this venture specializes in pioneering software solutions designed to significantly reduce the administrative responsibilities confronting healthcare providers.

Brinkkemper asserts that healthcare providers dedicate approximately 25 to 40 percent of their time to administrative tasks. "When you take into account that healthcare expenses in the Netherlands amounted to more than 126 billion euros in 2022," he elaborates, "it's conceivable that by alleviating much of this administrative burden, savings of at least a quarter could be achieved. That equates to 31.5 billion! While these figures are not set in stone and challenges may arise, they do provide an indication of the potential gains to be realized."

Een zorgprofessional in gesprek met een patiƫnt
Consult between a healthcare professional and an patient

Tailored to each medical field

Easing the administrative burden of healthcare providers is precisely the goal of the software the students and Brinkkemper developed. During a demonstration led by the professor, we observe a consultation between an orthopaedist and a patient. The patient describes shoulder issues while the orthopaedist poses inquiries. Simultaneously, a live transcript unfolds on the computer screen. Additionally, relevant details distilled from the conversation manifest in a report on the same screen, adhering to the reporting standards of the specific medical specialty. Key questions, such as the precise location of pain and the duration of suffering, are addressed. Ultimately, the report encompasses all necessary information for the electronic health record (EHR). The healthcare provider, in this instance the orthopaedist, need only review the report and adjust - if needed - before incorporating it into the EHR.

We derive great satisfaction from collaborating with healthcare professionals to enhance our innovative system

Thymen den Hartog
Thymen den Hartog, co-founder and former student at Utrecht University

Accelerated by emerging AI language models

The software harnesses the capabilities of speech recognition and AI language models. Despite being under development for several years, its progress gained significant traction early last year. This acceleration can be attributed to the emergence of GPT's, such as ChatGPT. "When we witnessed the capabilities of these models, we realized: this is precisely what we require," remarked Brinkkemper. "It offers the semantic technology necessary to translate the transcripts generated by speech recognition into the information demanded by the EHR." "However, we also promptly recognized the risks associated with these extensive language models, such as potential misinterpretation of words or sentences," notes Thymen den Hartog, one of the former students and co-founder of Verticai. "These models must be meticulously adjusted so they comprehend the nuances across various healthcare specialties."

Collaboration with healthcare professionals

In pursuit of this goal, Verticai is currently running several pilot projects with healthcare partners. Collaboratively, they refine the software through sample consultations, aiming to improve the reports it generates. Additionally, they acknowledge the diverse information needs across specialties. For instance, data requirements differ significantly between a cardiologist, neurologist, or orthopaedist. They are actively addressing this challenge, based on the directives within the specific specialties.

Collaborators include the Geriatrics department of Radboudumc, several physiotherapy practices in the Arnhem and Nijmegen regions, and an institution specializing in PTSD treatment. "We derive great satisfaction from collaborating with healthcare professionals to enhance our innovative system," expresses Den Hartog with enthusiasm, "ultimately enabling them to devote their full attention to what they do best: delivering compassionate care."

For additional information, please contact Verticai at info@verticai.nl