How to Train a Dragon: A Nephrologist’s Experience with Voice Recognition Software
In this first post by a guest blogger, nephrologist Peter Manring, MD, explains how he effectively uses the voice recognition software Dragon NaturallySpeaking and how physicians can get the most out of it. Dr. Manring practices nephrology in Kalamazoo, Michigan, at Nephrology Center Kalamazoo. If you have questions for him, please leave them in the comments.
I have been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking for about a year and a half, and I haven’t looked back. While I put significant time into learning the program and training the speech recognition, this software saves me time and money every day.
When I first started using the system, I was frustrated by how slowly my speech was transcribed. At that time, I was using a laptop with the minimal hardware requirements for Dragon. So I went out and bought a laptop with more computing power and my speed issues were resolved.
One enduring problem is that Dragon is not 100% accurate. It tends to insert “her” in place of “your” and can make a number of other transcription mistakes. Once I sent out a patient letter intending to say “Dear Arthur” but instead said “ureter” and didn’t catch it! I have found accuracy to be excellent when I am fluently dictating a note, but it falls apart when I slow down and stop several times through a sentence. However, it is definitely faster than typing. If I simply take the time to proofread, errors are easy to fix and it doesn’t take long. I now dictate my notes in the exam room and finish them before the patient leaves.
I use my Dragon to create point-of-care forms, but I also use it to provide pre-formatted patient instructions on such things as how to collect a 24-hour urine sample, lifestyle modifications for hypertension control, and dietary instructions. For example, by saying “education potassium,” a low-potassium diet instruction is inserted onto a letter, which I can either hand to the patient in the office or mail to their home. I also have templates such as standard chronic kidney disease recommendations for primary care physicians and instructions on how to avoid contrast-induced nephropathy. Finally, I use the dragon with lab and radiology review by dictating my comments and orders to nursing staff, and then create letters to patient regarding their results.
Considering how much transcription costs, it may be worth your time and money to get a Dragon medical program. (Don’t make a mistake of buying the nonmedical version—it won’t work for you.) I use mine with a Phillips SpeechMike Air wireless dictaphone and long ago recouped the cost of my initial outlay.
Happy Dragon training!