Archive for March, 2008

SpeechMagic / Dragon Comparison – Response to Reader Comment

Risking a SpeechMagic-Dragon Comparison? I would like to reply to the following comment from Eric Jacques: “Wouldn’t it make more sense to compare SpeechMagic to PowerScribe?” in response to the following thread: “Risking a SpeechMagic-Dragon Comparison?

Dear Eric,

Comparing SpeechMagic and PowerScribe would be like comparing an engine to a car. It is indeed important to differentiate:

  • The speech recognition engine technologies
  • The enterprise solutions that integrate the above technologies and are offered to healthcare facilities as part of a comprehensive dictation/workflow management package.

In today’s marketplace, vendors of dictation/workflow solutions are typically powered by one of the two major speech recognition engines: Dragon or SpeechMagic. Hence the importance to compare these two in the first place.

What makes it slightly more confusing in the case of PowerScribe is that:

  • PowerScribe is a Dictaphone product
  • PowerScribe is powered by Dragon
  • Dragon is a Scansoft product
  • Scansoft bought Nuance in 2005 but chose to keep on doing business under the name Nuance
  • Nuance acquired Dictaphone in 2006.

Still following?
Wait, is that you?

So if PowerScribe was to be compared to any system, it would be to a range of enterprise solutions such as:

  • Crescendo Speech Processing (powered by SpeechMagic)
  • Dolbey Fusion Speech (powered by SpeechMagic)
  • MedQuist SpeechQ (powered by SpeechMagic)
  • Dictaphone Enterprise Express (powered by Dragon)
  • SoftMed Speech Recognition (now powered by SpeechMagic since 3M merger)

The Nordic Example

The Finnish Example With an industrial history firmly rooted in technology, the Nordics have always been early hi-tech adopters, clearly ahead of new market trends. While, in the early 2000’s, the rest of Europe was still getting used to the very concept of online transactions, these guys were already buying books by the dozen from Amazon.com over broadband connections. The fact that Norvegian healthcare is about to roll-out the world’s largest speech recognition installation therefore comes as no surprise.

As announced yesterday, over 1,000 physicians from the Ulleval University Hospital in Oslo – Norway’s largest clinical center – will be using SpeechMagic to generate reports across all medical specialties as of 2009. This is expected to be the world’s largest deployment of front-end speech recognition at one single hospital site. > More…

On the other side of the northern border, their Finnish neighbours also decided to step aboard the speech recognition ship with zero drowning reported so far. Instead, a rather impressive use case from the Palokka healthcare joint authority, who has been using a speech recognition system powered by SpeechMagic since December 2003. The system allowed the authority to “speed up patient care and improve data security at the same time. Patient data is always in the right place at the right time, which avoids unnecessary processing and reduces the need for doctors to consult each other.” > More

Medical Times Middle East features Speech Recognition

Dubai Jumeirah Palm Island Medical Times Middle East recently dedicated an article to healthcare speech recognition based on interviews conducted at ArabHealth. Editor Vernon Baxter starts off the article by questioning Bill Gates’ 1997 prediction (“in this 10-year time frame…we will have perfected speech recognition and speech output”) in the light of present achievements.

“Gates may have been a little optimistic with his prediction, but voice-recognition is finally making inroads into healthcare (…) With the increasing presence of electronic medical records in clinics, the potential benefits of a voice-activated interface have never been greater.

Baxter goes on to comment the state-of-the-union between vendors and client healthcare organizations, quoting top vendor executives along the way, including:

– Koen Schoof, senior product manager, dictation and healthcare, EMEA, Nuance Communication.

– Costa Mandilaras, president, Crescendo Systems Corporation.

– James McPherson, project and client manager, Voice Technologies.

> Read article

MedQuist settles $7.5M class-action suit

MedQuist settles $7.5M class-action suit I had promised an update on the MedQuist Saga outcome. Well, here it is; Season one’s grand finale. On March 10, MedQuist executed a $7,537,001.83 million settlement with “the plaintiffs and certain other putative class members represented by plaintiffs’ counsel in the South Broward customer class action.”

This settlement closes the putative class action that was filed on September 9, 2004 against the company. Plaintiffs alleged that the company overcharged certain non-federal governmental hospitals and medical centers for transcription services.

The settling parties will release the company and all individual defendants from any and all claims and dismiss the action in its entirety with prejudice.

The settlement is subject to formal documentation by the parties. Because the parties are not settling on a class-wide basis, no class will be certified, and thus there is no requirement to give notice. Neither the company, nor any of the individual defendants, has admitted or will admit to liability or any wrongdoing in connection with the proposed settlement.

> Read full press release

> Watch previous episodes

From Recognized Text To Clinically-Actionable Data

What is a Speech Recognition Context ? In a recent article from Health Imaging & IT, the respective Chief Medical Officers of Philips Speech Recognition Systems and Health Language shed light on the future of speech recognition technology for healthcare. Beyong speech-to-text conversion, SR is clearly turning into a full enterprise solution with a direct impact on both clinical decision-making and the actual cost of healthcare.

Nick van Terheyden, MD, CMO, Philips Speech Recognition Systems:

Speech recognition can reduce costs by 30 to 40 percent, and early users will have a very high competitive advantage.

Providing clinically actionable data is the key to solving fundamental challenges with EMRs such as: capturing data at the source to input into the EMR, supporting clinical decision-making with clinically actionable data, and providing tools that enable the capability to catch errors before they’re committed.

Speech recognition and natural language understanding bridges the gap between clinicians and technology

Brian Levy, MD, CMO of Health Language:

The language engine works simultaneously with the speech engine allowing for real-time conversion of text to standards. In addition, an EMR may be set up to allow smaller sections of dictations for various components of the record such as history, problem lists, medications, and so on. The EMR or other application may then permit the clinician to select more specific or additional codes to further standardize the information.

The current interaction with the patient usually occurs separately from the ability to look up referential material pertinent to the patient. But the introduction of speech and conversion to standards within an electronic medical record enables real-time information.

> Read full article

Movers & Shakers Interview

Marcel Wassink, MD, Philips Speech Recognition Systems Marcel Wassink, Managing Director, Philips Speech Recognition Systems, speaks out in a recent interview conducted by HealthTechWire’s Armin Scheuer. Wassink shares his vision of market achievements and challenges, technology trends and the role to be played by speech recognition in the overall EMR agenda. Here is a sneak peek:

Challenges

The challenges in our field are indeed immense. We are expecting technology to cope with two highly complex issues: first, it has to capture and understand unstructured spoken information. Secondly, it has to turn this information into structured text, which takes into account that this is going to be used for sensitive healthcare purposes and life-affecting decisions. This requires in-depth expertise, plus detailed customer and clinical insight in order to achieve the accuracy, convenience and efficiency levels required in the healthcare industry. This focus has lead to the current massive adoption of speech recognition throughout healthcare sectors all over the world.

Speech Recognition and the EMR

Once radiology is up to speed, the entire hospital starts realizing the change which usually generates direct user demand for our technologies and services. Another trend that benefits our business is the introduction of electronic health record systems. They are seen as a key component to raise patient safety and reduce medical errors. However, physicians’ resistance is still high because of inflexible and inconvenient data capturing. Enabling verbal interaction between physicians and EHR is expected to eliminate adoption barriers, which is why we are especially active in EHR-friendly markets, such as the US, Scandinavia or Germany.

Beyond Speech Recognition: Standardizing Medical Language

Currently, we are researching solutions that integrate third-party applications, such as medical databases, diagnostic reference systems or coding applications – all of which aim to make healthcare documentation more accurate, convenient and efficient. We are looking at systems that increase patient safety during the process of capturing information in EHR systems, for example, by issuing a warning if physicians prescribe medication to a pregnant patient that is forbidden during pregnancy.

We are also working on standardizing language to support the interoperability of information systems. All healthcare applications must have a common, standardized language that allows them to share information among each other, thus giving access to critical information at the point-of-care: because knowledge is safety – in healthcare even more so than in any other field.

> Read full interview


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