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AthletiCo’s Combined Use of Background and Front-end Speech Recognition From Nuance Helps Make Patients’ Medical Records Available Fast
Tuesday, 02 February 2010 00:00

AthletiCo Streamlines Clinical Documentation; Front-end Speech Recognition Decreases Medical Transcription Reliance by 38 Percent in Twelve Months

Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) a leading supplier of speech solutions, today announced that AthletiCo, an Illinois-based leader in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and fitness services, is using a combination of background and front-end speech recognition from Nuance to improve and speed the way patients’ medical records are documented and shared.

AthletiCo has been using the background speech recognition capabilities of Nuance’s Dictaphone Enterprise Speech System, also referred to as “Turbo Speech,” since 2002 and in the fall of 2009 deployed Nuance’s front-end component, Enterprise Workstation. Beyond significantly reducing the time and costs associated with clinical documentation, front-end speech recognition has helped AthletiCo decrease its reliance on medical transcription by 38 percent in one year.

Today, AthletiCo has 360 clinicians across its 55 sites using speech recognition to document patients’ medical reports. All clinicians dictate on an open floor setting either via mobile device or at a PC dictation station. From there, one of two workflow scenarios ensues.

  1. Background: Clinicians dictate with wireless PDAs and dictations are processed through a Dragon-based background speech recognition engine, where a high-quality draft medical record is created and sent to a medical transcriptionist (MT) for review and editing.  After this, the record is sent back to the clinician for final review and signature.  AthletiCo’s documents are finalized based on their assigned work type to meet timely turnaround requirements.
  2. Front-end: Dictation appears on the computer screen in real-time for the clinician to immediately self-edit, sign and share with other caregivers or with the patient. With this workflow, medical report creation is immediate.

“Our dual use of background and front-end speech recognition has significantly reduced our reliance on, and therefore the cost associated with medical transcription,” said Heather Franks, director of operations, and AthletiCo Ltd.  “Moreover, real-time reporting capabilities have allowed our clinicians to create reports instantaneously when necessary.”

At AthletiCo, patients oftentimes have multiple visits that may occur within 48 hours of each other.  This high frequency of treatment contributes to added demand on clinicians to ensure patients’ medical records are documented in a timely manner.  It also requires medical transcriptionists, when utilized, to be highly efficient in order to meet document turnaround requirements.  By allowing clinicians the option to use front-end speech recognition, in addition to the background workflow, AthletiCo ensures that patients’ notes are created and shared without delay.

“One benefit of using Enterprise Workstation is that documentation that was previously handwritten is now created with front-end speech recognition, making legible patient documentation available considerably faster,” said Daphne R. Scott, PT, DSc, regional manager, AthletiCo.  “Various special features of the software, such as creating shortcuts for regularly repeated parts of documentation and pronunciation training for harder to recognize words, including names, allow the system to work effectively and efficiently, and more importantly frees-up time for the clinician.”

Approximately 3,500 documents are created at AthletiCo everyday.  On average, 500 of those notes are created with background speech recognition and 3,000 are created with the use of real-time speech recognition.  Today, AthletiCo has a team of 14 part-time MTs and three fulltime MTs to support the background speech recognition workflow.  Before implementing Enterprise Workstation, AthletiCo relied on a larger MT support staff.  As part of the introduction to the Enterprise Workstation component, AthletiCo first deployed front-end speech recognition at two facilities.  Because of the benefits in turnaround time and reduced cost, AthletiCo has now deployed the Enterprise Workstation component at all of its sites and expects continued increases in savings on medical transcription.

“Healthcare organizations that rely on traditional medical transcription are oftentimes spending more time, money and resources than necessary,” said Peter Durlach, senior vice president, healthcare product strategy and marketing, Nuance.  “AthletiCo’s integrated use of background and front-end speech recognition has delivered benefits that can be replicated for other healthcare organizations working to produce high-quality medical reports, more quickly than with traditional transcription and at a lower cost.  Nuance’s healthcare speech recognition solutions allow customers to create the same volume of work at lower costs.”

Nuance’s Dictaphone Enterprise Speech System, designed for on-site deployment, offers scalability and flexibility to meet the demands of any size healthcare organization with multiple departments and geographic locations.  By helping to make MTs more productive as editors vs. having to type documents from scratch, the System’s background speech recognition workflow drives an increase in MT productivity, significantly reduces the cost of transcription and delivers medical reports faster as compared to traditional clinical documentation processes. For documentation types that have a real-time availability need, the Enterprise Workstation component enables clinicians to create and complete dictated documentation without transcription.

 

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