7 Advantages Of Using Speech-To-Text Tech For Patient Notes
Updated: 7 days ago
Speech recognition software allows users to dictate notes directly into their devices and is quite a common feature today but have you or any of your team ever actually used it when compiling patient notes?
In the past using this type of application came with a stigma of embarrassment as many felt self-conscious about talking out loud in front of colleagues. However in an era of Alexa’s, Google Home’s etc using your voice to carry out searches, setting an alarm or a reminder is becoming commonplace.
There is also a generational shift to factor in with many millennials now looking at voice notes as the new text messaging.* This will translate into the workplace as this generation bring this behaviour with them and it will be seen just as acceptable as a notepad and pen.
Regardless of how you feel about speech to text software the advantages it can bring to hospitals, air ambulances, critical care transfer teams etc are hard to ignore.
Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits it can bring.
Time is one of our most precious resources so anything that helps us be more efficient with it can only be a good thing. This is the main advantage of speech recognition as it allows medics to get their notes into the system much faster than typing them. The speed element helps to encourage more in depth notes to be dictated as more can be written in half the time.
By streamlining these routine tasks (e.g. writing handover notes) it means they are no longer an administrative drain on staff and leads to better quality of notes (and might even stop some skipping certain admin tasks altogether).
The first benefit leads directly into the next one; boosting productivity. Doctors are able to complete the necessary (digital) paperwork faster which frees up more of their time. You also get a knock on effect of increased job satisfaction as people are spending more time doing what they love which is treating patients instead of being bogged down with admin tasks.
3. Hands Free
Another advantage of using speech to text is it can be done relatively hands free. This frees you up for a nice spot of multitasking, which for example in an air ambulance on an emergency mission you can dictate patient observations whilst having your hands free to carry out any treatment that may be required.
The hands free functionality also benefits users who hate using smaller touchscreen keyboards on tablets or phones, so if you find these too fiddly you can just click the speech to text option and rattle off your notes without getting keyboard rage!.
4. Improved Accuracy
It’s fair to say that in the past getting speech recognition to work and recognise exactly what you said has been a struggle (I’ve had issues with it understanding my Geordie accent!) but it has come on leaps and bounds recently.
You no longer need to speak like you’re in an episode of The Crown or Downton Abbey to be understood.
This makes it way more accessible than ever before regardless of your accent or how fast you talk. Whilst you might still get the odd error in the dictation these are easy enough to tidy up afterwards.
The only caveat I would add is that the medical world comes with A LOT of jargon and abbreviations so allowances may need to be made in enunciating these a bit slower when you’re dictating to give the software a chance to catch it clearly.
It may be a bit cliched to say that doctors have bad handwriting but you know what they say where there’s smoke there’s fire and there are definitely some that look like they wrote their notes blindfolded. This can obviously lead to difficulties down the line if instructions or observation notes aren’t clear so if using speech to text helps remove the issue around handwriting it can only be of benefit to overall patient care.
Another benefit you’ll find by using speech recognition more in your organisation is that it can help save you money. Costs saving can include not having to spend time typing up notes or employing staff to transcribe notes.
The final advantage of speech to text software is that it is available in a lot more places than ever before and even comes as standard on certain devices meaning there is no additional cost. Just look out for the microphone icon on your text fields and you should be able to start talking and seeing it appear on screen.
Find out more
Hopefully the above has helped you to see the ways in which speech recognition can bring efficiencies into your working practices. It’s something we have integrated into our ARCEMS and ARCCTS software's as we know how much time it can help save our customers.
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