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HIStalk Interviews Janet Dillione, EVP/GM, Nuance

November 12, 2012 Interviews No Comments

Janet Dillione is executive vice president and general manager of the healthcare division of Nuance Communications.

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How do Nuance’s recent acquisitions of Quantim and J.A. Thomas and Associates tie in with the company’s long-term plans?

For long-term plans specific to the Healthcare Division, we are quite interested in having a positive impact on clinical documentation, especially bridging the world between the clinicians and what you could call the administrative processes of healthcare. That crosswalk, if you will, from clinical documentation to CDI to reimbursement.

I think we are fortunate we have quite distinctive technology to help here. Along with speech, we have our clinical language understanding technologies. We think we are in a unique position to help. As I always like to say, we are morally compelled to leave it better than we found it, so let’s get in here and take a look at these processes and the software and the support and then let’s try to have a positive impact here and help the customers.

 

Earlier this year, Nuance partnered with 3M for computer-assisted coding. How is the J.A. Thomas acquisition going to impact the relationship with 3M?

3M and Nuance will remain partners. This is not unusual for Nuance. We’ve done this across other lines with businesses like radiology, where we’re both probably called a full-stack workflow provider as well as a technology provider. We are quite comfortable doing that. We’ve done it before and we’ll continue to do that. Right now, there will be no changes.

 

In addition of Quantim and J.A. Thomas, earlier this year Nuance acquired Transcend, which had purchased Salar. What overlaps, if any, do you see with these products?

Transcend for us is very much about an expansion and an extension into the mid-market. We have a channel strategy that’s really a customer-based expansion, a mid-market expansion with our traditional transcription line of business, great KLAS scores, great customer reputation, great customer relationships. It is really about that. 

The Quantim and the J.A. Thomas acquisitions are about filling out that clinical documentation support, which we can then take into that broader Nuance customer base. Transcend was absolutely about getting a great brand and a great customer base and that has had success. These latest two were really about clinical documentation expansion with the CDI.

 

I understand that there is quite a bit of development work that is still being done on the Quantim CAC offering. What is the timetable for completing that product?

A good amount of work has already been done. There is development and different types of work and some building up of content and knowledge. The other part is really doing some of the underlying plumbing, sort to speak.

The Quantim team had done quite a bit on the knowledge and the content side of it, so we have a very aggressive plan to be in market. We have product in the market now with Quantim and we’ll continue that and will have further releases the end of the year and early next year. We adapted some of the changes with what we believe is an uplift in technology. The developers are working together on this and have been working on this already for quite a bit. We have a very good idea of exactly what has to happen. We’re very positive about what we need with this one.

 

Do you anticipate that any of the other Quantim products will be retired or changed substantially now that they’re under your wing?

With Quantim, we’re looking at what they have available for coding and CAC and compliance and reporting modules. We think all of those are well suited. There is some integration work we’ll do, especially in some of the reporting, but we actually feel that in most areas there’s no overlap. It’s not part of the integration plan and it wasn’t part of the due diligence.

We don’t see overlap. We see net new. We actually said this throughout the acquisition plan. This is all about going forward and there’s not a lot of the reverse energy, so to speak.

 

We understand that MModal may have had some type of relationship with Quantim for CAC. Any plans to maintain that agreement?

I would hate to speak for MModal for any prior agreements, but the CAC solution in the market will be with Nuance technology.

 

Nuance has been continually diversifying its offerings. Do you see any plans to move into the HIS or RCM world?

[Laughs] Right now we are very focused on providing a unique value-added solution into this very complex world of CDI and clinical documentation and CAC. We’ve made quite an investment here and throughout the market. We’re going to be very focused for quite a while making sure we get these solutions out to the customers.

 

Any additional comments?

I have been here two years. It’s been great. We are blessed. We have fantastic customers, a phenomenal customer list. Great loyalty with our customers, great trust, which is fantastic. We take it very seriously.  

We didn’t make these extensions, these decisions, lightly. We have a brand that we are very conscious of. We think that this is a space where we can add value. We are excited about it.

I was at AHIMA for three days. I was quite frankly really pleased with the market reaction. Customers coming up and saying, “Great, I get it.” It’s so great when we do something that’s significant and have customers say, “I get it. Wow! I get it. That makes perfect sense.”

That was very validating. These are smart people who have been in this space for years, so it’s helpful when you get that kind of a market reaction. That validates the long hours working into the night.

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