Voice recognition meets 'meaningful use' - Conant and Associates

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file:///C|/Users/Denise/Desktop/ArticlePrint.htm[5/4/2010 11:02:47 AM]
Voice recognition meets ‘meaningful use’
By John Moore
Commentators on meaningful use often focus on the “meaningful” part of the phrase: what the government considers constructive deployment of electronic
health records.
But the “use” part is important as well. A sticking point in some deployments is the human interface. To wit: physicians may balk at having to key-in patient
Dr. Reid Conant, chief medical information officer at Tri-City Emergency Medical Group, in Oceanside, Calif., said EHRs use templates that let doctors click on
discrete data elements–a drop-down box of symptoms, for example. The data entry job becomes more taxing, however, when it comes to filling in a narrative in a
patient’s electronic chart. That might include a clinical history of the illness, doctor’s interpretation of lab results and discharge instructions— all usually keyed
into an EHR.
Conant believes speech recognition offers a better option. “Typing takes far longer and it is a frustrating way to document,” Conant said. “Providers that use
speech…have a rapid way of dictating in the narrative and telling the complete story.”
“As we all know, physicians are not typists,” added John Shagoury, president Nuance Healthcare, a maker of speech recognition systems.
The use of speech recognition as an EHR front-end is gaining momentum, he said, citing the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs as long-
time users of the company’s Dragon Medical speech recognition products.
Conant said he uses Dragon with Cerner’s PowerNote ED system, noting that anywhere he can type free text into a medical note he can dictate the entry with
Dragon. He said it takes about two-and- a-half hours to grasp the essentials of using the product.
The meaningful use proposal also calls for providers to make a discharge summary and instructions available upon patient request. Conant said providing those
elements via transcription involves built-in delays, while template-driven and paper documentation inadequately convey the information.
“Both of these documents are difficult to have available to the patient ‘upon request’ on discharge from the hospital without the use of front-end speech
recognition,” Conant said.
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