Speech Rec Gets a Boost in Medical Journal

An article published in last week’s New England Journal of Medicine suggests that electronic clinical documentation can help prevent diagnostic errors. That’s an argument that Nuance Communications, which provides dictation solutions to the healthcare industry, has been making for years.

The article, according to John Shagoury, executive vice president and general manager of Nuance’s healthcare unit, “struck a particularly relevant chord.”

“More than 150,000 physicians use our speech recognition technology to document patient encounters without having to type or handwrite,” he said in a statement. “The majority of these doctors will tell you that speaking their medical notes is not only faster, but it allows doctors to include more information on their patients.”

In the article, Drs. Gordon Schiff and David Bates, both from Boston, maintain that  “a fundamental part of delivering good medical care is getting the diagnosis right, and EHRs promise multiple benefits, but we believe that one key selling point is their potential for preventing, minimizing, or mitigating diagnostic errors.”

In the article, they further argue that “free-text narrative will often be superior to point-and-click boilerplate in accurately capturing a patient’s history and making assessments, and notes should be designed to include discussion of uncertainties.

“Documentation of clinicians’ thinking must be facilitated by streamlined text-entry tools such as voice recognition,” the doctors said.

That was good news for Shagoury. “It’s wonderful to see the free-text narrative, along side EHR point-and-click templates, being recognized as highly important and valuable to improve patient care, as well as to improve physician and patient interactions,” he said in the statement. “One customer of ours, The Fallon Clinic, saw the quality of medical notes improve by 26 percent when they were created with speech recognition.” 

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