M*Modal Beefs Up Functionality in Speech Solution for Physicians

Speech understanding and clinical documentation provider M*Modal recently revealed several enhancements to its solution for healthcare providers, Fluency Direct. The front-end speech recognition software boasts enhancements around system customization, platform integration, speech understanding, and software management capabilities.

According to Tim Ruff, vice president of development at Fluency Direct, the enhancements not only add to the solution's capabilities but continue to differentiate it from the company's competitors: Speech recognition is just one of several capabilities that lets physicians improve record keeping, adhere to government mandates for healthcare, and work in a variety of technical environments.

Ruff says that one goal was to make Fluency Direct easier to use and more customizable. "We've worked really hard to make the software very adoptable by physicians, and it's easy to train on and get it up and running immediately," he says. "That's from a user experience and user interface perspective as well."

Fluency Direct also features enhancements to M*Modal's speech understanding software, and will be able to offer continuous, incremental improvements since the technology is cloud-based, Ruff says. "We're able to easily deploy system enhancements to customers without them having to update the client."

 Improvements have also been made to the client and how it interacts with Fluency Direct, with the addition of a number of feature sets for easier deployment. Since the solution is cloud-based, M*Modal manages a lot of the back-end IT infrastructure for its customers as well as the front-end client.

"We've put a lot of emphasis on how the software is deployed," Ruff says. "We know that the landscape that our users are in—in terms of the technical environment—it's extremely varied. At this point we have experience with over 80 different EMRs (electronic medical records) in the field."

Ruff says that since end users' technical climates can run the gamut, integration has been a key focus. "Our customers have virtual desktops, thin clients, and Citrix—we've worked to make sure that we can integrate in those environments, and integrate with a single product. Whether you’re a physician using a PC at home or using a virtual desktop in the office, it's all one product, one user experience."

Ruff stresses that while M*Modal offers speech recognition, it's not the company's sole focus. "We do more than just put words, speech to text, or drive an automated user interface," he says. "We analyze exactly what the physician is saying or typing, look at that clinical note and make sure that it meets all the criteria for successful billing [under] ICD-10 [rules]. All of these things are unique to our product and aren't reflected in our competitors' products."

As an example, the company launched a clinical documentation solution in September 2014, Fluency for Imaging with Computer-Assisted Physician Documentation (CAPD). Aimed at radiologists, the reporting tool supports real-time clinical documentation improvement (CDI). With the enhanced release of Fluency Direct, CAPD has been integrated into M*Modal’s CDI platform, enabling physicians to receive alerts and real-time messages to increase the accuracy of patient records. 

"We're about improving clinical documentation with different tools," Ruff says. "One of those is about using the efficiency of using speech to automate the process, but the other is to use the CPD functionality to make sure you have the most accurate healthcare records possible. It's about having a very accurate note, not just producing a note." 

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