Speech Recognition Programs: Are They Making Medical Transcriptionists Unnecessary?

Speech Recognition ProgramsBy converting dictations from clinicians into well-formatted documents automatically, voice recognition technology has brought in more efficient results and cost benefits into the process of clinical documentation.

Types of Speech Recognition

There are two types of speech recognition programs: front-end and backend.

In front-end speech recognition, physicians can directly dictate, edit, and sign the completed report in one go — without the need for transcription — into an EHR system. It likewise makes navigation from one part of the system to another, saving precious time in the process.

On the other hand, background speech recognition first converts the clinician’s dictation into a speech-recognized draft that a medical language specialist (MLS) edits. This results in more productive results for the MLS, compared to the conventional transcription method.

Impact on Medical Transcriptionists

If you are considering a career in medical transcription or are already working as one, what does the future hold for you?

Medical transcriptionists will still be around in the years to come, although they must learn to adapt to the fast-changing times. Depending on the accounts they hold, most MTs today who are working for medical transcription service organizations perform both traditional straight transcription and editing.

In time, with more health providers transitioning to EMRs, more physicians and medical facilities will turn to voice recognition software. As more doctors become familiar with such programs, the developers will continue improving their products to minimize errors.

Although the software is improving, there is no such thing as a perfect system that will work the same way for all clinicians. While some doctors will be able to learn quickly and use the software directly, some may not. Doctors with a thick accent or cannot speak clearly, for example, may not be able to use the system effectively, so they still need editing or straight transcription.

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While speech recognition programs are improving, the job of the medical transcriptionist is still secure, but it is expected to evolve with technology.