Strictly Speaking, Voice Recognition Technology Works

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , May 1, 2012

"The first thing the physician will do is push a button … so they can see all their templates," he says. "They just select a template or speak into it to generate that template right into the note."

Arslani's got it even worse than the bridge of the Enterprise, with 27 different languages spoken at Illinois Masonic. But the software is up to the task. "The great thing is it actually compensates for heavy accents and the accuracy is quite impressive," he says.

When the project began, Advocate Illinois Masonic spent between $40,000 to $45,000 a month in transcription costs, and employed 6 ½ full-time-equivalent internal in-house transcriptionists. Today, the costs have plummeted to $3,000 to $8,000 a month and the FTEs are gone.

Only 30 to 40 physicians still dictate for transcription, and these are physicians who don't practice frequently at the hospital. By July, to entice these stragglers to join the voice recognition revolution, Arslani's team will let them perform voice input even from their home computers, using ordinary PC microphones which are sufficient in the quieter home environment.

Other incentives will help get stragglers there as well. Templates in the software can prompt physicians to comply with various regulations, Arslani says. For instance, all procedure notes must include the following statement: "The integrity of all instruments and equipment used on the patient during the procedure remained intact after use." All the provider has to do is use a command to insert the sentence into the note.

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