Medical Voice Recognition Technology: Pros and Cons

Medical voice recognition technology has reshaped the landscape of medical documentation. Now, physicians and medical facilities do not need to wait for many days or weeks just to document important medical data about patients. With the advanced medical transcription technology, information could be easily filed in electronic medical records so that retrieval of data could be made accurately, quickly, and conveniently.

In the past, physicians needed to dictate their narratives in tape recorders, which need to be turned over to a third-party transcription services provider within a few days for transcribing of information. The process is long, winding, and tedious, aside from being costly. It usually takes about a week at the fastest rate to complete a medical transcription job. The fees could also be significant when accumulated in a year. Thus, medical transcription has made itself a lucrative sector of the medical industry. Now, with the advent of medical voice recognition technology, medical documentation would not need to rely to medical transcriptionists. Medical facilities could have their text format data on their own just by installing and using appropriate voice recognition and transcription software.

The advantage of the technology is quite obvious. Time is significantly cut short. Now, medical documents could be transcribed for electronic filing in just a day or two as against a week in the conventional practice. Medical facilities could benefit significantly from that. Costs overall could also be reduced. When taken annually, there could be hundreds of thousands of accumulated cost savings as there would be no more need to hire medical transcriptionists. Medical information could also be made accurate and reliable.

There could be possible disadvantages to using medical voice recognition in medical documentation processes. First, there could be limitations in the technology, especially when it comes to recognizing phonetics, which is not also spared on human transcriptions. For example, the word ‘urine’ could be transcribed by a voice recognition software as ‘you’re in,’ the word ‘nitrate’ could be ‘night rate,’ and so on. To remedy the situation, the services of professional medical transcriptionists may still be required.

As usual, the output of medical voice recognition program needs to be proofread. Many practitioners and transcriptionists complain that it usually takes longer to proofread and correct errors than to transcribe the voice recordings. This is one limitation that designers and manufacturers of the technology are still working on. Many doctors also complain about accuracy of transcriptions and the quality. There are more sophisticated programs that could offer more solutions and fewer setbacks, but they are more expensive than the rest.

Lastly, investing in medical voice recognition could be costly. One-time costs for purchasing and installing the software could be expensive, but many users attest that it would all be worth it. In the end, disadvantages would be outweighed by the practical advantages of using the technology.