2. Voice Recognition Software
Speech recognition is the ability of a machine or program to identify words and phrases in spoken language and convert it to digital format. This can help you to create clinical notes without having to type it into a computer yourself. Now during your interactions with patients you are free from using a computer so you can really focus on the patient rather than the scribing of the data.
In June 2000, about 5% of physicians used speech recognition to generate text in their offices. A paper from 2008 found that approximately 20% of physicians are using more advanced, reliable voice recognition technology and saving time and money. The report cited data from 2007, “76% of clinicians who used desktop speech recognition reported faster turnaround time, better patient care and quicker reimbursement. Nearly 30% reported lower costs and increased productivity as benefits. The lower costs arise from reduced transcription and overhead expenses associated with billings and collection.”
Dr. Neil Baum uses Dragon Medical Practice Edition 2, which runs with VMware, Boot Camp, Parallels and other programs for mac users. The program can learn how you speak and understand you with incredible accuracy. Be sure to investigate how a specific program fits best with your office flow.
One note is that the more you use voice recognition instead of checking off pull-down boxes for clinical notes, the more difficult it will be to mine your data for quality metrics and pay-for-performance information, and thus may be discouraged by your employer.
3. Online lab Result Reporting
TeleVox has automated lab results that allow physicians or staff to assign lab result messages quickly and easily. Patients can call an 800 number or use the Internet to retrieve their results, using a PIN for privacy.
Practices that implement this technology see improvements:
- Streamlined operations: time is saved on phone calls and through mail
- Reduced costs: automated lab result reporting reduces staff labor and mailing costs
- Ease of access: Patients can access their information 24/7 and don’t need to wait for a phone call or mail delivery. This also alleviates anxiety because patients can choose to be notified when their results are ready.
4. Automated wait-time notification
A common complaint from patients is about the excessive wait times experienced in the doctors office. Now, there is a way to provide automated information sending patients a message about how long the wait will be. MedWaitTime is one example of a program that can alert patients of the estimated wait time and the program costs $50/month/physician. Patients access the service for free and it alleviates the annoyance of not knowing how long to wait. Many EHRs fail to alert the physician if he or she is on time so they are not even aware.
Busy clinicians can benefit from a few added technological programs to enhance the experience for the patient.