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Joan Trombetti, Writer | April 08, 2009
Adoption of EMR systems are lagging with less than two percent of U.S. hospitals fully switched to EMRs, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Part of the problem is a reluctance by physicians to change their work habits such as switching to speech recognition systems to do dictation. Despite the stumbling blocks, progress is being made, soon to be supported by an infusion of federal money to support EMR installation.

DOTmed attended this week's HIMSS09 conference in Chicago where Nuance Healthcare showcased its latest speech solution, Dragon Medical software. The company also launched the Dragon Medical EHR Certification Program, designed to optimize clinician use of EHRs by introducing a new standard of speech recognition interoperability. Dragon is the health care industry's most widely used real-time speech recognition software.

A survey completed by 1,255 physicians who have adopted Nuance's Dragon Medical software found that 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.

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"This method of documentation is easy for me, because I can dictate findings on a pathology specimen, which results in a faster turn around time for physician and patient," said Peter Libbey, M.D., Director of Anatomic Pathology, Roger Williams Medical Center, University Pathologist's Group. "Reporting directly to an Electronic Hospital Record (EHR) system eliminates hours of paperwork, allowing me more time to present findings on many more pathology specimens." Dr. Libbey also told DOTmed News that speech-enabled medical records enhances his work because it is easy to dictate reports on pathological specimens that he examines, rather than write or type up reports.

"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. Nuance is collaborating with leading EHR vendors such as Allscripts to launch the Dragon Medical EHR Certification Program. "With the option to speech enable their EHR system with Dragon Medical, our clients are empowered to create high-quality, real-time patient documentation without solely relying on templates. Speech is raising the bar in healthcare IT, and voice command is an essential component of our comprehensive electronic health record solution."