Bilingual speech recognition doesn’t let physicians get lost in translation

Bilingual Speech Recognition In border regions like Eastern Ontario, Canada, two languages are spoken. When a patient comes in a hospital saying either “it hurts” or “j’ai mal”, healthcare organizations thereby have add the language factor to an already complex documentation workflow. As obvious as it may sound, isn’t documenting a case in the patient’s native language the very first step to accurate and quality healthcare? And since nothing seems to stop 21st century hospitals on their way to forging this long-awaited though modern healthcare, a hospital in bilingual Ottawa region has decided to take on the challenge using bilingual speech recognition; a North American – if not worldwide – first.

Ottawa based Hôpital Montfort is a 206 bed facility that boasts 100 physicians on its active medical staff and twelve medical Transcriptionists. After implementing an integrated document creation platform including digital dictation, transcription and distribution in 2007, the hospital is now set to implement an additional, bilingual speech recognition module to further accelerate the processing of reports based on the patient’s language. Based on the language set either within the physician’s profile or upon physician’s login, the speech recognition engine would launch the proper language ConText in the background. So if a French speaking patient comes in, the physician would dictate in French using a French-Canadian speech recognition ConText. The voice file would then be automatically routed to a French-speaking correction resource, and the final report issued in French.

On the other hand, and in order to ensure the instant availability of up-to-date patient results and demographics to all relevant medical staff., bi-directional HL7 interfaces have already been implemented between the dictation-transcription platform and the Hospital Information System (Admission, Discharge, Transfer and ADT). A similar interface has also been implemented with the hospital’s Patient Care Inquiry module, thus enabling instant viewing of pathology reports, once again, regardless of the language used.

The project has raised interest in other parts of the world, and a large hospital in France is currently looking to implement a similar solution.


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