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:


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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