Now, no system is perfect, and if speech has an Achilles' heel, it's probably the ambiguity built into the English language. "Sometimes it picks up a different word, and we even show that in our demonstrations," Arslani says. "Down in medical records, they pick these things up and get right to the physician. After a while, physicians are cognizant of that. But I've got to tell you, [overall] it makes the doctor much more efficient. From the quality of the documentation, it is far superior than the written note."
That difference is one of quantity as well as quality. Physicians do five times as much documentation as they did on paper systems, Arslani says. "Before, we were only seeing maybe one note per patient day," he says. "Now we're seeing 3 ½ to 4 ½ notes per patient day. That's incredible!"
The voice recognition tools make EMR adoption essentially a done deal. Advocate Illinois Masonic attested to Stage 1 of Meaningful Use last September, and is on track for Stage 2, Arslani says.
"We've worked awfully hard these past 3 ½ years to get where we are, and I have to tell you our demand for site visits has gone through the roof," he says. A CIO from Australia who recently visited pronounced it the highlight of his site visit, he adds.