Improvements in healthcare systems rely on electronic data entered by doctors into intelligent devices and analytical systems. But many doctors hate the laborious process of typing and fussing with computers. Apple’s Siri, a voice command module for the iPhone, points the way to easier approaches in the future – and many technology companies are helping to lead this charge. Nuance Healthcare, maker of Dragon Medical 360 and other speech recognition and clinical language understanding products, is working with American and Canadian EMR vendors to make talking to EMRs a reality.
The concept of speaking commands to intelligent devices that analyze, react, and respond verbally goes by many names, says Jonathon Dreyer (pictured), director of mobile solutions marketing at Nuance Healthcare. “We lump all those concepts under the label of ‘intelligent voice interactions’.”
Nuance recently released a new version of its cloud-based speech engine – part of the company’s 360 Development Platform – and is allowing EMR developers to incorporate it in their product development, says Dreyer.
“Dozens of developers have already integrated our speech and understanding engines in their applications and their solutions are available in the market now. We have more than 250 developers in our program so we’ll continue to see a steady stream of new apps hit the market, and existing products evolve, as the integration of new capabilities starts to take shape over the next 12 to18 months.”
What will those capabilities look like, or rather, sound like? In current systems, physicians have to type a multitude of terms for even basic searches, and troll through mountains of information to find what they want. Instead, they could simply speak their questions – a verbal Google search – and the system will return those results on-screen, with further verbal commands to refine them.
For example, a physician may ask the system, “What’s the treatment for Lyme disease?” or “What are the common drug interactions between medication A and B?”