Friday, September 14, 2007

Time For A Reality Check

Now let's get down to brass tacks. Or, as Joan Rivers would say, "Can we talk?"
People are quick to stress how much money could be saved by teaching preventive healthcare measures instead of trying to place administrative Band-Aids on crisis situations. The same theory applies to the process of dictating medical reports and correspondence.
All the money spent on new hardware, new software, and practice management consultants -- coupled with the time spent learning how to use new technology -- is completely wasted if the person dictating text into a speech recognition engine lacks the language skills necessary to produce a clear and coherent sentence.


Because speech recognition software does absolutely nothing to improve the language skills of the dictating physician. And therein lies the basic problem: With speech recognition systems: What you say may be exactly what you get!

How easily will a speech recognition engine be able to pick out and correct the errors in the following pieces of dictation:

"This ulcer has significant psychologic problems and situational stresses."

"The patient has been under the care of an attendant and the attendant called and said that he was short of breath."

"Discharge medications: bilateral pneumonia, severe Parkinson's disease, spinal cord lesion, glaucoma."

Until physicians learn how to dictate properly -- and learn how to use the English language efficiently in communicating their thoughts -- speech recognition systems will be nothing more than electronic Band-Aids. Someone with strong editing skills and a hefty medical vocabulary will still be required to edit and produce the final document. Many transcription services are now using speech recognition engines to provide a "first draft" of each dictated report which is then edited by a medical language specialist.

Who could that person be?



[Consciousness Raising Exercise #26]

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