That is also the case across countless industries, with voice recognition technology having proven itself as a cost-effective means of improving productivity, enhancing customer service and boosting profits. In North America alone, the speech recognition software market that was estimated at $177 million in 2015 is tipped to boom to revenues of $1.5 billion by 2024. From finance and eCommerce to education and transport, an increasing number of companies are jumping aboard the speech recognition bandwagon for fear of being forced to watch their rivals race off into the distance.
The healthcare industry is no different and, in many ways, is leading the way with its use of voice recognition tools. That was highlighted by a study of B2B voice technology start-ups that found almost half of the companies that were focused on a single sector were targeting healthcare.
Source: "Voice Tech Landscape: 150+ Infrastructure, Horizontal and Vertical Startups Mapped and Analysed”
The software has been a blessing for busy clinicians who need to document important patient data but that is far from the sole purpose of medical voice recognition software. The benefits go far beyond simplifying medical records but before exploring them in detail, let’s take a closer look at the technology itself and the different types of speech recognition.
Speech recognition is the capability of an electronic device to understand spoken words. The process begins with a microphone recording a person’s voice, with hardware then converting the signal from analogue sound waves to digital audio. The audio data is then processed by software, which interprets the sound as individual words. When it comes to healthcare, the technology is helping deliver more effective results in both clinical settings (eg: studies have shown it can contribute to identifying Parkinson’s disease at an early stage) and administration (eg: enabling hands-free access to the compilation and accessing of health-related data).
Speech recognition software is complex but the technology can generally be broken into two categories. While sharing similarities, they feature key differences and developers may end up incorporating both types in a final product design.
Front-end speech recognition: users speak into a screen that records and converts spoken words to readable text in real-time. The traditional way of transcribing and compilation of medical notes is a laborious and time-consuming aspect, which is why front-end speech recognition is a welcome tool for healthcare organisations. The technology significantly reduces the need for transcriptionists to spend hours dictating notes and speeds up the process of creating and completing paperwork.
That said, the misspelling and absence of words can cause headaches and often require human intervention. However, the software is increasingly able to learn from mistakes and speech patterns overtime to avoid repeating common errors. Clinicians and administrators are currently seeing the best use of such technology for creating short reports or personal notes as they are easy to correct and benefit most from rapid pace.
Software development companies are increasingly supplying hospital and healthcare providers with speech recognition technologies that cover a broad range of clinical and administrative needs. From complex programs to one-stop-shop apps, voice-based technology is enhancing the experiences of patients, clinicians and support staff.
There is no longer an excuse for healthcare providers not to be developing and deploying speech recognition tools as part of their technology strategies. With a multitude of products on the market, there are options to suit any environment and allow clinicians to deliver better care for their patients than ever before. Whether off-the-shelf or customised, technology is available to reduce costs, increase productivity and future-proof your organisation.
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