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Nuance Communications : 30 April, 2009  (Special Report)
FOCUS ZONE REPORT – At the HIMSS 2009 conference in Chicago, Illinois, USA, Nuance Communications revealed results from a new study that shows how Nuance’s Dragon Medical software, the healthcare industry’s most widely used real-time speech recognition software, is capable of accelerating the transition to, and utilisation of electronic health records (EHRs).
EHRs are rising to the forefront of the healthcare information technology (HIT) agenda at the physician, provider organization, government and consumer levels. Speech recognition solutions such as Dragon Medical’s software are increasingly being recognized as an essential component to successful EHR rollout. According to a survey completed by 1,255 physicians who have adopted Nuance’s Dragon Medical software:

- 83 percent said that it improved the quality of their electronic patient notes;

- 81 percent said that it significantly reduced transcription spending; and,

- 69 percent said it made their EHR faster and easier to use.

However, despite strong endorsements for EHRs, their adoption is proving slow to take off. Today, less than two percent of US hospitals have fully switched to EHRs, according to a study from the New England Journal of Medicine that was released on March 25, 2009, and a third of the 3,000 hospitals surveyed cited reluctance among doctors to change work habits as a leading hurdle. To facilitate EHR migration further, Nuance is collaborating with leading EHR vendors, such as Allscripts, to launch the Dragon Medical EHR Certification Programme. While Dragon Medical software already works ‘out-of-the-box’ with more than 150 EHR systems, the Certification Program is designed to optimise clinician use of EHRs by introducing a new standard of Speech recognition interoperability.

“Our physician clients have embraced Dragon Medical as the primary and best means of speech-enabling their electronic health records, because Dragon Medical helps them to quickly and easily create high-quality, real-time patient documentation,” said Glen Tullman, Chief Executive Officer of Allscripts. “Speech is a key component of the electronic healthcare revolution, and Nuance’s certification programme will ensure that physicians have a reliable list of electronic health records that will optimize their use of this vital clinical capability.”

As part of the Dragon Medical EHR Certification Programme, EHR vendors complete a Nuance-managed evaluation during which they work with Nuance engineers to further optimize The Dragon Medical software’s interoperability with their EHR. By adding this additional layer of interoperability, physicians and healthcare organizations can confidently make their EHR migration, knowing Speech recognition is not only possible, but has been pre-tested and optimized for utmost clinician efficiency.

“The biggest challenge facing the roll-out of electronic medical records contemplated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is achieving meaningful use without adding to physicians’ documentation burden. This can be accomplished by closely coordinating voice entry with structured notes, rather than treating voice and structured entry as an ‘either-or’ proposition,” said Wes Rishel, Vice President and Analyst in Gartner’s healthcare provider research practice.

As the Health and Human Services Department works to define ‘meaningful use’ of an EHR, Nuance believes that Dragon Medical software can help physicians and organizations move toward complying with what will ultimately be considered ‘meaningful”’ EHR use, by ensuring that clinicians actually utilise the EHR and that the physician narrative is not lost during the documentation process. As proven by the more than 100,000 physicians already using Dragon Medical software to dictate the narrative component of their patient visits, speech-driven clinical documentation is available in real-time, notes are more complete and patient care is improved.

“Today, more than 20 percent of all physicians in North America use speech solutions from Nuance to generate over 800 million electronic medical records a year,” said Peter Durlach, senior vice president of marketing and product strategy, Nuance Healthcare. “Dragon Medical is increasingly recognized as an essential component to EHR rollout as healthcare provider organizations work to implement, and effectively utilize EHR systems to comply with the federal government’s five-year adoption goal, as well as earn their fair share of incentive payments from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”

Dragon Medical software claims to make clinicians up to 25 percent more efficient with an EHR when compared to using a non voice-enabled system. And, as supported by a May 2007 report issued by KLAS, 76 percent of clinicians using ‘desktop’ Speech recognition - to directly control an EHR system - report faster medical report turn-around time, better service to patients, sharply reduced costs and increased productivity. Benefits for healthcare organizations that provide physicians with a speech-enabled EHR include:

Reduced Transcription Costs: By enabling clinicians to dictate directly into the EHR system with real-time speech recognition, healthcare provider organizations can eliminate significant operating costs associated with traditional manual transcription.

Faster Medical Report Creation: Using speech, physicians can create patient documents at the point of care, resulting in faster turn-around times and more accurate, thorough patient records.

More Detailed Documentation: According to physicians, the narrative is the most important part of a patient note. A Medical record that combines point-and-click EHR templates with dictated physician narrative promotes ongoing higher quality care.

Increased Overall User Productivity and Satisfaction: By using Speech recognition to navigate and dictate directly into the EHR system, clinicians can eliminate hours of typing, clicking and scrolling, allowing them to spend more time providing high quality patient care and increasing their satisfaction with the entire documentation process.
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