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Updated Jan 26, 2024

The Benefits of Medical Speech-to-Text

What is Medical Speech Recognition Software?

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Max Freedman, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
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Editor Reviewed
This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

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Some doctors and nurse practitioners feel that typing patient notes distracts them from listening to their patients. But if you don’t record anything into your electronic medical records (EMR) system, you won’t be able to build a plan or generate medical claims later. Medical speech-to-text can bridge this gap, which is a common patient care obstacle. Learn all about it below.

What is medical speech-to-text?

Medical speech-to-text, also known as medical speech recognition (MSR), is a technology that allows you to dictate your medical notes instead of typing them. This way, if you’re not a fast typer, your typing speed won’t limit you in recording information during a patient encounter. As you speak, what you say will appear as text in the encounter notes within your EMR system, where MSR technology is typically housed.

Learn more about how to choose medical software, through which you can start using speech-to-text.

How is medical speech recognition used?

MSR is often available as a third-party EMR integration, though many of the best medical software platforms include voice-to-text tools with their patient note-taking platform. In either case, it is simple to use: Click the record button; then say what you need to say. Because most modern laptops and tablets come with a built-in mic, you shouldn’t need any extra hardware to make your MSR tools usable. 

Your MSR tools will likely also come with short-key capabilities. You can use these short keys to more easily move the text you’ve spoken between sections of your EMR or patient notes. The result is a more streamlined note-taking experience.

MSR learns new words the more often you use your tools. This comes in handy, given the heavy amount of jargon in medicine. Plus, once you correct the misspelling of a word in your notes, your MSR will know how to spell it correctly next time. As your MSR tools continuously improve, so does your note-taking. 

Did You Know?Did you know
MSR tools learn new words as you say them. As your platform’s vocabulary increases, so does your ease of note-taking.

The benefits of medical speech-to-text

Medical speech-to-text offers many benefits, including the following:

  • Less clicking through EMR interfaces: With MSR, you can simply speak your notes and then watch them fill the appropriate boxes in your EMR. This process eliminates the need to click a box before you start typing. Plus, it’s not unheard of for busy practitioners to click the wrong box and wind up storing their notes in an incorrect location.
  • Streamlined document handling: MSR’s voice recognition is so powerful that you can use it to create, modify and sign encounter notes in one fell swoop. The same goes for electronic prescriptions or lab orders. MSR doesn’t just improve your note-taking; it expedites your other patient-facing work as well.
  • No transcription: Before MSR, any patient notes captured on audio had to be recorded and then painstakingly transcribed. The process was tedious, lengthy and error-prone. MSR eliminates this obstacle. Medical speech-to-text is especially beneficial if a patient is transferring to another practice and you need to make your notes legible to new practitioners.
  • Far fewer spelling errors: As your MSR platform learns, it ensures that all of your notes hit the page with the exact words you desire. Think of it as a real-time spell-check. Though it’s always smart to proofread your notes, you can assume relatively safely that what you’ve said is indeed what appears in your EMR.
  • More reimbursement: Any experienced doctor or nurse practitioner knows that typing notes is a conduit to patient charts filled with shorthand. The problem is, your shorthand might not mean much to anyone who isn’t you. This confusion can prove problematic when you file claims with payers — how can you be reimbursed when payers don’t know what your notes mean? Because medical speech-to-text results in fully written notes, it eliminates this issue. 
  • More hands-on patient care: If you’re typing your notes, you’re probably not looking at the patient. If you’re recording them for medical speech-to-text, you can have a better conversation with the patient. You can even capture the patient’s actual words without having to type your own notes into your EMR. In other words, MSR streamlines not only your experience with the patient but also the patient’s experience with you.
FYIDid you know
MSR is more than just convenient. Because it enters your medical notes as full words instead of shorthand, it virtually eliminates the need to revise your notes before you file claims.

Is medical speech-to-text HIPAA-compliant?

Two factors determine whether your medical speech-to-text tool is HIPAA-compliant:

  • The provider’s HIPAA compliance: A real-life example best explains this condition of HIPAA compliance: In late 2019, Amazon introduced a medical speech-to-text tool, and because Amazon Web Services (AWS) is HIPAA-eligible, so is its MSR platform.
  • The existence of a business associate agreement (BAA): Although HIPAA-eligible services are generally secure and good at protecting connected devices, a BAA is an indicator that your dictated notes are as safe as possible. You can obtain a BAA by contacting the entity that oversees your MSR’s HIPAA eligibility. To use the Amazon example, you would contact an AWS representative to request a BAA. Once you have your BAA, you can use Amazon’s MSR without any worries about HIPAA compliance.

The best medical software with speech-to-text tools

As mentioned earlier, several stand-alone medical speech-to-text programs integrate into leading EMR platforms. Other top-quality EMR platforms come with their own MSR tools. The list below includes some platforms with native tools and others with robust third-party integrations.

  • athenahealth: With athenahealth’s EMR technology, you can speak your patient notes into the system on desktop or mobile devices. You can also navigate between fields in your patient encounter documentation using voice commands. Read our athenahealth medical software review to learn about the other features this platform offers.
  • DrChrono: The MSR tools in DrChrono are designed to fit any medical specialty. Additionally, the voice-to-text engine in DrChrono adapts to your speaking style the more you use it, leading to more accurate notes. Explore this platform’s other useful features in our DrChrono medical software review.
  • AdvancedMD: This medical software provider says its integration with the Dragon Medical One MSR tool increases your documentation speed by 45%. AdvancedMD also touts 99 percent speech-to-text accuracy with a 20 percent increase in relevance across your notes. Learn more about this powerful EMR platform in our AdvancedMD medical software review.
  • CareCloud: Through CareCloud’s partnership with nVoq, your speech becomes text in mere seconds. You can also use voice commands to automate your workflows when you use the CareCloud nVoq app. Check out our CareCloud medical software review to learn more about this platform’s robust features.

Medical speech-to-text is just the start

Medical speech-to-text is one of quite a few helpful EMR tools. EMR platforms also include tools for charting and note-taking, customizability, e-prescribing and labs, interoperability, and telehealth. Confirm that your EMR platform provides these features, and if medical speech-to-text is included, it will elevate your operations even further.

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Max Freedman, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
Max Freedman has spent nearly a decade providing entrepreneurs and business operators with actionable advice they can use to launch and grow their businesses. Max has direct experience helping run a small business, performs hands-on reviews and has real-world experience with the categories he covers, such as accounting software and digital payroll solutions, as well as leading small business lenders and employee retirement providers. Max has written hundreds of articles for Business News Daily on a range of valuable topics, including small business funding, time and attendance, marketing and human resources.
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