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MedTech
6 minutes read

Speech Recognition Technology in Healthcare

By Robert Kazmi
By Robert Kazmi
MedTech
6 minutes read

Speech recognition technology in healthcare is not a new advancement. However, the vast improvements that have been made to voice recognition technology over the past five years have greatly improved the quality and reliability of this tool for healthcare providers. As a result, speech recognition is one feature that has been popular in recent MedTech app development trends. 

Voice recognition goes beyond simplifying medical records. Let’s take a closer look at speech recognition technology, explore the different types of speech recognition, and finally, explain the benefits of speech recognition software for healthcare providers and organizations. 

Understanding Speech Recognition Technology 

There is a good chance that you have interacted with or used voice recognition technology. While speech recognition has been around for a long time, the accuracy of modern speech recognition technology has made it popular for consumers, businesses, and the healthcare industry. This is due in large part to the advances made in natural language processing

Recent, famous examples of voice recognition technology include Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. While these types of speech recognition will be the most instantly recognizable to the greater consumer public, did you know there are two different types of speech recognition technology used in the healthcare industry? 

Speech recognition technology can be broadly sorted into two categories, front-end, and back-end. These two types of speech recognition are similar, but there are some significant differences. It should also be noted that you could include both front-end and back-end speech recognition features during the app development process. In addition, once you learn more about each type of speech recognition, you might want to consider including both types in your final product design.

Front-end Speech Recognition 

Front-end speech recognition technology converts spoken words to text in real-time as you speak. This is an important tool for healthcare organizations. For one, it dramatically reduces the reliance on medical transcriptionists. Plus, there is always a lot of paperwork healthcare providers must fill out or create, and front-end speech recognition technology speeds up the entire process. 

You need to be aware of some concerns or challenges that are associated with front-end speech recognition. The biggest problem associated with front-end speech recognition is that there tend to be more misspelled or missing words. Corrections need to be made by healthcare providers after input. However, front-end voice recognition learns from mistakes and speech patterns over time to avoid repeating common mistakes. 

Currently, front-end speech recognition is best utilized for creating short reports or personal notes. Small patient notes and observations are easy to correct, and they benefit the most from the speed a front-end voice recognition solution offers. 

Back-end Speech Recognition 

Back-end speech recognition records spoken words in a digital format and then translates that recording into text. This process takes longer than front-end solutions. Typically, a medical transcriptionist reviews the draft document and the digital recording created by the speech recognition software to ensure accuracy. 

As previously stated, back-end voice recognition is slower than front-end, but the benefit of this is that there are far fewer misspelled or missing words. Healthcare providers also take comfort in the fact that a human reviews and edits all documents. Therefore, back-end speech recognition is still the best tool for drafting important healthcare documents and medical records. 

The Benefits of Speech Recognition Technology in Healthcare 

Speech recognition technology has a lot of unique capabilities, but in the healthcare industry, there needs to be clear benefits and use cases for technology before it can be adopted. The benefits of using speech recognition technology for healthcare providers are improved:

  • Productivity 
  • Patient care 
  • Medical records 
  • Flexibility 

Productivity 

No matter what industry you work in, improving productivity is always a positive. For example, many healthcare providers spend a lot of time typing their notes, reports, and other medical records. These tasks take time away from other more productive activities such as seeing patients. In addition, improved productivity leads to greater cash flow

Documentation is essential in healthcare, but it doesn’t have to consume valuable time. Speech recognition technology helps doctors and other medical staff be more productive throughout their workday. This saves healthcare providers from having to stay at work late finishing paperwork, allowing them to see more patients throughout the day. 

Patient Care 

The patient is the most crucial part of healthcare. Unfortunately, paperwork and documentation are a vital part of providing quality, proper medical care for patients. However, as we just noted, speech recognition technology can help healthcare providers improve productivity regarding paperwork. 

Improved productivity leads to improved patient care. Doctors and other medical staff who have to spend less time focusing on paperwork can spend more time seeing patients and focusing on providing care to them. This improves the level of care and allows doctors to be more present with each patient. 

More care equals better health, and this ultimately leads healthcare organizations to be more successful. 

Medical Records 

Accurate, detailed medical records are an important part of providing patients with a high level of care. However, suppose healthcare providers have to rely on handwritten notes and observations. In that case, they might forget to enter this information into a patient’s records, they might not be able to decipher their handwriting if they were writing quickly, or they might misplace notes entirely. 

Speech recognition software improves medical records by capturing all spoken words and creating notes that can easily be added to patients’ records. Completeness of medical notes is essential, especially when multiple services get performed in one visit. Incomplete or inaccurate medical records can lead to a missed diagnosis or poor treatment plans. Speech recognition tools help ensure medical records are complete and accurate. 

Flexibility 

One of the best aspects of voice recognition technology is the flexibility it provides. It can be accessed on almost any device and interface. When combined with the power of the cloud, doctors and other medical staff can easily share patient information and notes. This is particularly valuable when a patient needs to see multiple healthcare providers. The only major concern that needs to be taken into consideration is HIPAA compliance

Final Thoughts 

There is a lot of room in the healthcare industry for speech recognition tools to flourish. If you have an idea for a MedTech app but need help bringing it to life, reach out to an app development partner. A partner can help you utilize the latest technology and tools to deliver a world-class product to the healthcare industry. The importance of speech recognition technology in healthcare is a great example of how you can use cutting-edge features in your app to deliver world-class results.

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