Strictly Speaking, Voice Recognition Technology Works

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , May 1, 2012

Voice recognition turns out to need a few things that weren't around in the 1960s when IBM first started attempting it, using the entire power of a mainframe. Those things, in decreasing order of importance, are: lots of CPU processing power, really good microphones with noise cancellation technology for noisy hospital environments, and software that knows when to suggest something and when to get out of the way. The final, nontechnological, component is commitment from the CEO on down to make it work.

Today the technology is on such a roll at Advocate Illinois Masonic that the CEO makes time to gently remind those straggling physicians still dictating their notes for expensive transcription that there is a better way that costs less, and it's running at every desktop in the facility.

The transition started, as it often does, with a crisis, in the form of the Joint Commission, which a while back visited Advocate Illinois Masonic because of some issues about illegible paper documentation.

With an imperative to improve documentation quality and drive adoption of the hospital's electronic medical record, Arslani and his team selected a leading voice recognition technology and set about creating numerous templates and macros to implement Advocate Illinois Masonic's physician workflow at the service level.

The base technology and add-ons customize the experience for physicians and organize all their commands and templates in a way that can be accessed from the handheld microphone they use for voice input, Arslani says.

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