“Clinical knowledge doubles every 18 months…”

In a recent interview with a UK healthcare IT publication, Philips Speech Recognition Executives comment on a couple of mind-blowing figures.

Nick van Terheyden, MD Dr. Nick van Terheyden, Chief Medical Officer:

Clinical knowledge is estimated to double every 18 months. Given the massive volume of medical research, it is impossible for any physician to keep up with all new developments. A new study on a specific condition or its treatment might have been published just the day before the physician sees a patient.

Physicians are trained to identify conditions based on the occurrence of signs and symptoms. But as medicine expands and the number of diagnoses increases it becomes harder to use this information to identify specific conditions and their cause. As medicine is undergoing an explosion of information, technology must be utilized to assist the clinical team in prioritizing information, highlighting key data and guiding the care process.

…If the EHR is able to provide real-time access to clinical data the physician becomes much more of a pilot, navigating and taking decisions as critical and relevant information is presented to him in a clear and effective way.

Marcel Wassink, CEO, Philips Speech Recognition Systems Marcel Wassink, CEO:

A survey by the European Commission found that almost 4 in 5 EU citizens classified medical errors as an important problem in their country. Other studies suggest that:

  • In Italy, up to 90 people die per day because of an error
  • In Germany this number is estimated at 38,000 per year.
  • In the UK, 850,000 medical errors are reported each year.
  • In the US, it is estimated that 100,000 people die from medical errors each year.

First measurements show that a hospital’s overall productivity can be increased by 5-7% just by increasing reporting efficiency. Using speech recognition to improve reporting accuracy is next, along with ensuring faster availability and accessibility to information. I see this as the basis for reducing the alarming error rates in healthcare.

The feedback we receive from doctors says that the length of their reports has increased, since they started using speech recognition – because it makes reporting much easier. Today, doctors are often advised to keep their dictations short, to ease the workload on the transcriptionist. This clearly can’t be the solution – not in a time where we are moving towards evidence-based medicine. More information is what doctors need and that’s why speech recognition must be offered to doctors as a standard option for capturing information electronically, the same as the keyboard or the mouse.

The above figures are the reality check that motivated the development of Philip’s Interop, a concept demonstrator designed to advance system interoperability in healthcare with the help of speech recognition, Map of Medicine (Medic to Medic), Health Language and Elsevier technologies.

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