In this article, we explore the practicalities of using speech recognition in a busy ambulatory environment. And we look at how practices can use AI-powered capabilities to drive efficiency and cost savings without putting extra pressure on clinicians or impacting patient care.
The time clinicians spend on documentation is creeping upward, with an average of 16 minutes and 14 seconds spent documenting each encounter in the EHR. Many clinicians are overwhelmed as they try to fit chart review, clinical notes, ordering, and all their other administrative responsibilities into their schedule alongside face-to-face patient care.
Like many professionals, productivity is a constant battle for healthcare providers. But when practices look for ways to increase efficiency, they also face the risks of exacerbating clinician burnout and negatively impacting patient outcomes.
As demand for outpatient services continues to grow, clinicians need more effective ways to work, allowing them to care for their patients and meet their documentation requirements without after-hours work taking over their home lives.
We recently interviewed ambulatory care clinicians from independent practices around the country, discussing the need to challenge the status quo in ambulatory care documentation processes. Many of them highlighted the difficulty of finding the right strategy for boosting efficiency without sacrificing care quality. Here’s how speech recognition can help them find that balance.
Speech recognition helps your practice reclaim time and budget
Time is one of the most valuable commodities in healthcare. Having more time available in a clinician’s day can allow them to see more patients, focus on building a meaningful connection with their patients, spend longer on more complex cases, and work more closely with their colleagues.
But documentation requirements can easily derail these plans; when 10 to 15-minute appointments are accompanied by 16 minutes of documentation, there’s simply too much to fit into a working day. Cutting down on patient-facing time shouldn’t be an option—so it’s all about how to streamline the administrative component of a patient visit.
Speech recognition is more than three times faster than typing. And solutions that are purpose-built for medical care settings and clinical systems can also speed up EHR navigation.
Dragon Medical One is a conversational AI workflow assistant and documentation companion that delivers comprehensive support for a clinician’s documentation workload. From reviewing lab results to updating the patient record, Dragon Medical One’s speech-to-text and voice command capabilities help clinicians create a bespoke workflow that matches their preferences—so they can work faster and more efficiently.
With Dragon Medical One, clinicians spend 50% less time documenting during their working day, freeing up as much as two hours per clinician every shift. It also cuts down on “pajama time,” with 28% less time spent on after-hours documentation.
Speech recognition allows practices to find efficiencies elsewhere, too. Even in small, independent practices, outsourced transcription costs can run to tens of thousands of dollars annually. Replacing this slow, costly process allows leaders to repurpose staff and/or reallocate that budget toward improving services or even hiring more clinicians—without placing an extra administrative burden on clinical staff.
Simple to pick up and use
The idea of introducing speech recognition can be daunting, especially for practices staffed by clinicians who have been following traditional workflows for years. But Dragon Medical One isn’t just built for speed—it’s designed for ease of use, too.
If a clinician can dictate into a microphone, they can use Dragon; it’s as simple as that. Built on the foundation of Nuance’s most advanced speech recognition technology, Dragon Medical One has an expansive medical vocabulary that’s constantly updated with the latest information through the cloud. It’s 99% accurate immediately, and doesn’t require hours of complicated training. Gone are the days of reading prewritten texts aloud to train the tool to understand accents or medical terminology. With noise-cancelling technology built in, Dragon Medical One also does an excellent job with accuracy, even in a relatively noisy environment, such as an office visit with a crying baby, or at a workstation with surrounding team members or other activity. In under an hour, a clinician can be dictating notes and navigating the EHR with confidence.
Dragon Medical One is ideal for people who just want to dictate, but it also has more in-depth features for clinicians who want to push their efficiency even further. They can set up simple commands that insert common phrases or even whole paragraphs of text, or automate repetitive sections of their workflow.
Each clinician can create a working environment that fits them, helping them to be more productive and increasing their satisfaction. Throughout it all, our medical speech recognition experts can be on hand to assist with everything from the initial setup to building extensive custom commands—whatever a practice needs to get the most out of Dragon Medical One.
Let’s challenge the status quo in the ambulatory practice together
Speech recognition is a powerful tool for ambulatory practices, helping clinicians balance patient care, their own wellbeing, and the growing demands for documentation excellence and operational efficiency. For some clinicians, “good enough” might be okay for their workflow. But for clinicians who embrace new processes, there’s a better way to work. With Dragon Medical One, clinicians can overcome the status quo to build a working environment that fits their needs, their patients’ needs, and those of their practice, too.