Overcoming the Limitations of Using Speech Recognition in the EHR

A study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine reports that physicians are spending almost half their time in the office working on electronic health records. To make matters worse, they spend an additional hour or two completing patient documentation after hours. The 2016 Medscape EHR Report studied over 15,000 providers across a wide range of specialties and found that at least 50% of physicians believe their EHR slows down their workflow, negatively impacts face-to-face interactions with patients, and limits the number of patients they can see. These studies should come as no surprise to healthcare providers who are well aware of the pain associated with 100 or more clicks per patient note.

A first step in reducing the time and tedium of entering patient notes is to add speech recognition software to the EHR. Speech recognition has improved greatly over the last few years and adding speech makes completion of the narrative portions of the note much faster and easier. However, speech recognition doesn’t reduce the clicks required for structured data entry, such as selecting from menus and checking boxes; and it doesn’t interact with billing software.

So, speech recognition alone is not enough to result in the life-changing EHR acceleration that providers desperately want and need. The patient note remains time-consuming and click-intensive, which has led many frustrated providers to abandon speech recognition altogether.

NoteSwift was designed by a [video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”GXSfUYQTgOg” width=”640″ height=”400″ anchor=”physician”] to overcome the limitations of using speech recognition with patient charts. NoteSwift harnesses the speech recognition software and tightly integrates it into the EHR. NoteSwift is like a translation engine, converting the text captured by Dragon into EHR commands. So, providers can use just their natural voice to navigate through the note, entering both structured data and narrative text, and capturing critical billing information.

Providers who have tried and abandoned speech recognition in the past are experiencing much greater satisfaction when it’s coupled with NoteSwift. Pediatrician and NoteSwift user, Dr. Eliot Hall, said, “I started using Dragon software and that was a partial solution that created a note that was more readable, but my IT staff and my billing staff were very unhappy that it did not create a note that was searchable or billable. I really was looking to NoteSwift to solve those problems, and it has.”

When combined with NoteSwift, speech recognition speeds up the provider’s workflow the way that it should. Providers can find and open EHR screens, click buttons, check boxes, highlight codes, enter diagnoses, send prescriptions and lab orders – all with voice alone. Patient notes are entered 40% faster, giving providers more time to spend with patients in the office, and more time to spend with their families at home.

[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”b8UG-tt41GE” width=”640″ height=”400″ anchor=”This video”] shows the entry of the same patient note into Allscripts Professional EHR™ with Dragon Medical alone, and with Dragon Medical and NoteSwift.


Janet Knudsen is Director of Marketing at NoteSwift, Inc.

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