HealthBlog

Thoughts, comments, news, and reflections about healthcare IT from Microsoft's worldwide health senior director Bill Crounse, MD, on how information technology can improve healthcare delivery and services around the world.

Breaking the Data-Input Barrier for Clinicians: Windows Vista and Speech

Breaking the Data-Input Barrier for Clinicians: Windows Vista and Speech

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Data input remains a significant barrier to widespread adoption of electronic medical record systems.  Typically, when evaluating EMR systems, clinicians make comparisons with what they know best; data input by means of dictation.  Although dictation and transcription services add significantly to the cost of data entry, there is nothing as fast; and fast is what doctors want.

That's why I see nothing but good news in an
announcement made yesterday by MicrosoftWindows Vista will include Windows Speech Recognition in eight languages.  Users of Vista will be able to perform tasks using voice commands and dictate text into applications.  Speech recognition will be optimized for the user's voice.  Microsoft will also integrate Speech Server 2007 into Office Communications Server 2007, and provide speech APIs for developers who want to create powerful speech applications for vertical industries.

Sure, there are reasonably good speech recognition applications on the market today including some tailored for healthcare.  But why should you be forced to spend a lot of extra money for a system that may not always work so well with the operating system and applications most people use?

I envision "lexicons in the sky" tailored for Windows Vista, and always up to date on the unique vocabulary for any given industry.  Developers will create robust speech recognition applications for Windows and Windows-based devices that will connect to, download, and use these lexicons.  New wireless microphones will capture the human voice and transmit it to the device in your hand or perhaps to a far-away server for "voice to text" transcription.  Filling out a form on a
Tablet PC will be as simple as point and speak, with a very high degree of accuracy.  Data input will no longer be a barrier because clinicians will be able to document work-flow in the exam room, hallway, operating room, or perhaps even their automobile at the speed of their voice and without the added cost of transcription services. 

Yes, speech recognition has been around for years...... but you've never seen anything quite like this.  So to all you developers out there, my clinical colleagues are waiting for you. And now you have a better platform on which to build.

Bill Crounse, MD    Global Healthcare Industry Director    Microsoft
  • Several people after Speechtek have been asking about healthcare, and whether Vista will support any...
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