Electronic Health Records with Voice Recognition

Information week is running a story about voice recognition in e-health records:

The emergency room (EMR) software has drop-down templates from which physicians can enter information about patients, such as during exams and in providing data about medical history. However, the voice recognition software provides the e-records an added boost by allowing doctors to add details that would otherwise be excluded from the data, or has to be type in.

“Doctors aren’t good typists,” said Gude. “I’m a hospitalist who works at night and does a heavy load of admissions,” he said. After about five months of using the voice recognition software with the EMR, “I couldn’t live without it,” he said.

Patient medical histories “can be hard to template because they can include complex problems” that can’t be detailed through drop-down lists featured in the E-health record system, he said. By speaking in those details via a USB microphone into the system at workstation at nursing stations, saves time while ensuring “a clear clinical picture of a patient,” he said.


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  1. This post is spot on, and addresses one of the major reasons why physicians still shy away from information technology and electronic medical records (EMRs) – they aren’t good typists, and they fear the EMR will force them to fit every patient into a “one size fits all” clinical template. Although I imagine this is an issue in the hospital environment, my experience definitely shows it’s an issue in the ambulatory (physician office) environment.

    For the record, I think clinical templates can work very well in both environments, but I understand the trepidation of physicians who worry they’ll spend the majority of their visit forcing information into a pre-defined template screen. In reality, the process is surprisingly smooth, assuming you’re using one of the newer EMR software systems, or one of the better-designed old systems.

    I imagine good voice recognition technology will push many physicians off the “paper or electronic” fence. Let’s hope so, right? 🙂

    EMR Software Guy,