Consider voice recognition software

August 25, 2011

Determine whether it's worth your investment to buy voice recognition software.

Q: Data entry is a little bit clunky in my electronic health record (EHR)system. I've been thinking about buying some voice recognition software that would allow me to dictate notes. In general, is it easy to learn how to use such software? In other words, do you have to speak so slowly and deliberately that it won't even save much time? I just learned the ins and outs of my EHR system, and I don't want to spend a lot of time learning how to use more software.

A: In general, voice recognition software takes time to adjust the application to your own voice and speech patterns. It can be effective for some providers for simply using voice commands to move about the screens, whereas others dictate information into text boxes. But it's important to note that voice recognition is not for everyone. Check with your EHR system vendor to see whether it supports voice recognition software embedded within the application-it may make your implementation easier. Remember, you will want to get some information into the system in a structured format, such as orders (medication, lab, imaging), to take advantage of electronic prescribing and order-tracking for result reporting.