Healthcare // Electronic Health Records
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9/16/2009
02:48 PM
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Voice Recognition Tools Make Rounds At Hospitals

Voice technologies help doctors and nurses streamline manual work, saving time and money.

Next Up: Surgical Safety Checks

The system has shown itself to be capable of understanding different accents, he said. Butler is evaluating expanding use of the voice-assisted technology to other clinical areas, including surgery. The technology could be used to help ensure that surgical staff complete patient safety checklists.

McGill wouldn't say how much Butler paid for the system, but he expects the ROI will be realized in 12 to 18 months. "It's very affordable," he said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Fred Jorgenson, a faculty physician at Cleveland Clinic's Fairview Hospital, is using Nuance's Dragon Medical speech recognition technology to speak patient notes into the hospital's Epic EMR system.

"I'm not a fast typist," Jorgenson said. "Many doctors over a certain age aren't. If I had to type all the time, I'd be dead." And, at 13 cents to 17 cents per line, dictation transcription services are expensive.

"In primary care, patient notes can be 30 to 40 lines. That adds up," he said. Fairview is saving about $2,000 to $3,000 a month that might have otherwise been spent on transcription, Jorgenson said. It cost about $3,500 to get Dragon up and running, he said.

With transcription services, the turnaround time is 24 to 36 hours before information is available in the EMR. Spoken notes are available immediately.

Jorgensen describes the accuracy of Dragon Medical's speech-to-text documentation as "very good," especially with medical terms and prescriptions. "It rarely gets medical words wrong," he said. "If you see a mistake, it's usually with 'he' or 'she,' and you can correct it when you see it," he said.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on e-health and the federal stimulus package. Download the report here (registration required).

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