And now: Australia…

Now Australia… Freshly inked article from Australian IT magazine reads: “Voice recognition in medico lingo”. Editor Karen Dearne interviews Chief radiologist K.C. Fan from the Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney West.

The artcicle starts with a bit of history on professional speech recognition, quoting Dr. Fan’s experience:

…the technology has taken a while to achieve the accuracy they require. Fan says early versions were inaccurate and too slow. The processing time for computers to turn voice into text reduced the potential for productivity gains.

Tailored dictation products began to surface a couple of years ago, and the most successful voice recognition applications have been in structured environments, in which vocabulary and context can be built into transcription engines.

The author goes on to describe the actual project in place at the Radiology Department of the Children’s Hospital, with a very accurate insight from Dr. Fan on “how the limitations of general speech systems are actually strengths in specialised applications, such as radiology reporting:”

In day-to-day usage, short words such as to could also be two or too. The software has to guess what you mean and try to put the correct word into the context of your sentence. That’s not a major problem in radiology because specialist medical terms are long and complex. That’s an advantage, as it’s easier for the speech recognition system to pick them up.

A word such as interceception (inverted gut) comprises five syllables, for example, providing a clear, machine-readable pattern. Conversely, Fan says, most people unfamiliar with the term would misspell it. That sort of accuracy is a challenge to humans, but not to the system software.

When it comes to the difficulty of finding skilled medical transcriptionists, the situation in Australia seems very similar to that in the USA:

A good medical typist will get it right most of the time, but it’s hard to find skilled people.

On the dictation side, Dr. Fan stressed the importance of a dictation etiquette:

It is important for users to be consistent in their dictation. If you change the way you speak, you can teach the system bad things and the accuracy will drop. If people are consistent, it doesn’t matter whether they have an Indian, Chinese or Irish accent, the system will adapt.

You can read the full article, with further details on RIS integration and benefits, directly from the Australian IT web site.


1 Response to “And now: Australia…”

  1. 1 speechcontrols October 19, 2007 at 12:42 am

    What an excellent blog!

    I stumbled on your blog tonight, and spent an hour or so reading the lionshare of what you’ve posted so far.

    It’s curious.. we’re close to production for the very 1st *true digital 16kHz wireless headset, (with features built in that we hope make it a speech reco. users dream come true 🙂 and our associates in Redmond tell us that the Healthcare Industry will be the 1st marketplace it should grab a fast foothold..

    In fact, Dr. Bill Crounse has already begun talking to the Microsoft engineeer, Mr. Oscar Murillo who’s idea’s sponsored this headset.

    There is a nice collection of very interesting data here.. I wish you the best and will be more than happy to link over to you, ASAP!!

    Bill Burke

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