Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany now has a faster, more accurate, and highly maneuverable voice recognition system in use by their busy doctors. With the introduction of Dragon Medical speech recognition software, the process of documenting patient medical records can be accomplished in minutes rather than days.
“Not only is the process faster, but it allows for a more detailed, accurate, and cost effective way of doing business”, said Army Major Hamilton Le, a surgeon who has mastered the program in less than a month.
Before, Le would dictate his inpatient surgery notes into a telephone recording machine and wait two to three days for them to return from a transcribing service that cost about 17 cents per line. Reviewing and signing notes for 10 patients could take as long as one hour to complete and even longer if changes of corrections were needed. For outpatient visits, Le typed the visit details in AHLTA.
Now Le can dictate notes into a microphone attached to a mobile laptop and watch as his words appear on screen almost instantaneously. Changes are made on the spot and the record is signed electronically. Inpatient records are stored electronically locally and then the outpatient records are sent to the AHLTA clinical data repository where they remain on file for other medical facilities to access.
For patients seeking further treatment with a provider who doesn’t have access to the records electronically, such as a patient referred to a specialist in the local area, the records from the system can be hand carried to the appointment.
While speech recognition software has long been used by radiologists, the technology is now being expanded. A pilot program at the Heidelberg Medical Department Activity has used the system in their primary care and orthopedic departments.
Major General David Rubenstein, Army Deputy Surgeon General has recommended expanding the program throughout the Army Medical Command. As a result, 10,000 copies of the speech recognition software has been purchased by the Surgeon General’s office and distributed to 42 facilities worldwide. The system should pay for itself in less than year because of savings in transcription fees.
Also, speech recognition software is now being deployed throughout the European Regional Medical Command and should be fully implemented by summer. In addition to the software deployment, the initiative also includes deploying nine trainers to help field the system according to Dr. Bob Walker, a Heidelberg MEDDAC Physician and the ERMC AHLTA Consultant.