Benefits over voice recognition

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In theory voice recognition is a great idea: it should enable quick and easy transcription of medical dictation. However we believe that there are a number of important benefits that may only be realised by outsourcing work to experienced medical transcriptionists.

  • Medical secretaries often act as safety nets for their clinicians. Doctors may make mistakes in their dictation (e.g. dosage and other clinical errors), a human secretary will notice, bring them to the attention of the clinician and correct those, whilst a voice recognition computer lacks the common sense and contextual understanding to do so.

  • The grammar and general English used in many medical dictations is poor: whilst human transcribers will endeavor to re-order the letter so that it is clear and easy to understand for the recipient, voice recognition will not be able to do so.

  • As in all other fields the great advantage that human involvement has over computer automated systems (e.g. voice recognition) is that of common sense! A letter transcribed by a computer program may contain patently absurd phrases whilst a human has the common sense to ensure that the content and context of the transcript make sense.

  • In order to use voice recognition effectively it is often necessary to train both the system into the dictating clinician's voice and also the clinician themselves to dictate in a particular way so that the system understands them. This is not only antagonistic to the clinicians but also causes problems where new or locum staff come into a department.

  • Many voice recognition systems require a significant up-front investment. They also tend to require software and hardware installations within the Trust's IT infrastructure: the DICT8 system requires neither.

There has been a fair amount of research into the inaccuracies of voice recognition (even where it is used in conjunction with humans trying to correct the mistakes). An interesting paper from July 2018 can be downloaded from here