7 Ways Speech Recognition Technology Supports Physicians and Their Patients

Speech recognition software is helpful in just about any industry, but it’s especially helpful in the medical field. Here are 7 reasons doctors and patients both benefit when medical personnel use this technology.

1. Speech recognition generates accurate documentation

Doctors are human and subject to error when documenting patient information and adding notes to their files. Sometimes errors occur when transferring written information into the computer.

When physicians can capture and record notes regarding a patient’s care just by speaking, the accuracy increases, which ultimately helps the patient receive better care.

2. Physicians can get HIPAA-compliant speech-to-text technology

While there are plenty of speech-to-text applications on the market, clinicians are bound by HIPAA regulations to keep patient data private and secure. Good speech-to-text applications send the content through their servers in order to generate high accuracy. This means medical staff can’t just use any application.

Most medical providers use Dragon dictation software. Dragon is a leader in the speech-to-text industry and now offers a cutting-edge, cloud-based speech recognition solution called Nuance Dragon Medical One. This dictation software fully supports HIPAA requirements and uses state-of-the-art end-to-end encryption to keep all patient data secure.

3. Speech recognition technology is more accurate than ever

When you think about speech recognition software, you might recall a time when you had to speak slowly if you wanted the computer to recognize just 20% of what you were saying. Thanks to Google’s efforts, speech recognition technology has made exponential improvements and is now more accurate than it’s ever been.

A brief history of speech recognition technology’s accuracy

Speech-to-text technology was first invented back in the 1950s. The first version of this technology recognized only numbers when spoken. It took ten years for speech-to-text to recognize words, but was limited to understanding just 16 English words.

DARPA’s Speech understanding Research (SUR) program stepped in around 1971 and created a system called Harpy that could recognize 1,011 English words. By 1985 there were two main text-to-speech software programs: Kurzweil, which understood 1,000 words and IBM’s software, which understood 5,000 words.

Although a 5,000-word vocabulary was considered exceptional at the time, people had to speak slowly, clearly, and enunciate each word carefully or the programs couldn’t understand the dictation.

Speech recognition technology became available to the masses in 1990 when Dragon launched Dragon Dictate. The price tag? $9,000. In 1997, Dragon brought their price point down to $695 with a program called NaturallySpeaking. Although the price had dropped and the program was improved, it still wasn’t reliable enough to use in a professional setting. That’s when Google stepped in and changed everything.

Accurate technology creates better patient care

As previously discussed, accurate dictation results produce better patient care. As the technology is improved with machine learning systems, it will only become more accurate with time.

4. Speech recognition helps patients with complex medical histories

For most patients, physicians can use standard EHR templates to document notes about their condition. However, when patients have a more complex medical history, it’s not that simple. Most physicians aren’t going to be excellent typists and they’re likely going to miss a lot of the nuance involved in a patient’s story.

With dictation software, physicians can simply use their voice to create more complete problem lists that are created instantly.

5. Speech-to-text avoids dictation services

Traditionally, physicians have used tape recorders or mobile phone apps to record information that needs to be typed up by a transcriptionist. With software like Dragon Medical dictation, the transcript is created instantly, bypassing the fees and delays that come with traditional transcription.

6. Speech can be analyzed

Some clinicians are using speech recognition software for more than just dictation. Some medical professionals use speech recognition with predictive technology for diagnostic purposes, for example, to identify Parkinson’s Disease.

7. Data retrieval

Just as speech recognition can digitally document verbal input, it can also pull up those same records. Some software allows clinicians to speak a patient’s name or other keywords to pull up relevant records and other information. This makes a clinician’s job much easier.

Speech recognition technology is only getting better

Despite its slow start, speech recognition software continues to improve and is on an upward trajectory.

Not everyone is convinced of the benefits yet. However, we can expect to see even more improvements in the coming years that will make speech-to-text an industry standard in the medical field.

7 Ways Speech Recognition Technology Supports Physicians and Their Patients was last updated April 17th, 2021 by Alex Sanders