ER Docs Wake Up to Speech Recognition

ER Docs Wake Up to Speech Recognition The word is clearly spreading. A recent CRM Buyer Magazine article reports positive results for two US hospitals that have adopted speech recognition technology for their respective ER Departments. The news echoes the 2006 HIMSS survey, in which 65% of chief information officers had announced plans to equip their staff with speech recognition technology by 2008.

Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis
Speech Recognition has been around for the past two years in the hospital’s ER department.

I’m able to complete my charts and consult other physicians about patients in real time. In the past, you might not see dictated notes for six to 12 hours, but now it’s instantly accessible by the entire team,” comments Christopher Obetz, M.D., emergency medicine physician.

The technology is not without its problems though. As you’re dictating, you have to keep one eye on the computer and make sure its transcribing correctly. Compared to the traditional method, a lot of the burden falls on the user for accurate transcription.

Ironically, while the software does very well with complicated medical language, it often struggles with shorter words or phrases such as “I am” or “she is.”

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
After a successful trial in the ER and a larger pilot in 2005-2006, speech recognition is now used by approximately 175 providers in 30 departments throughout the hospital.

For the most part, the software is easy to integrate with relatively short set-up and training times,” says Deborah Adair, director of health information services.

Harry Rhodes, director of practice leadership for AHIMA, commented the above news:

It’s being touted as a natural add-on to the electronic medical record, since doctors are used to recording their notes. The software can also prompt users to include information they may have forgotten, creating a more complete record. Resistance to change is also a hurdle. It’s a big transition, but not an insurmountable one, given that the technology can improve quality of care.

See also: wireless speech recognition in the ER- case study

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