Real Time Communications Featured Article

Awareness Computing & Speech Recognition Improve Real-Time Nature of Electronic Health Records

September 09, 2015

With the costs of healthcare rising each year, health care providers are looking for a way to keep costs down. The requirements to move to electronic healthcare records (EHR), a key component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), hasn’t helped many companies get a grip on their administrative costs. Luckily, some of the very technologies that are underpinning EHR are helping to save time and money.

Using speech as a real-time input for patient records isn’t a new idea, but it’s one that has had trouble being widely adopted. For starters, most clinicians can use the solutions only at their desks. If they want to switch to a mobile device, for instance, or a desktop in another office, it means logging out and logging back in again. Since it takes several minutes to complete the launch and log-in processes, healthcare professionals spend a lot of time waiting around for their dictation solution to be available. When the professional is finished, it’s time to log out: a process that can take even longer than logging in because the application needs to save any additional learning that’s been added to the profile during the session.


Newer speech recognition solutions employ a technology called “situational awareness” that was designed to provide a more customized clinical computing experience for professionals with faster logins, improved access to support mobile healthcare professionals, and faster log-out. The technology offers faster authentication (part of what makes for faster logins) and offers a broader ability to ensure that all data entered in a session is saved before it’s shut down, according to a recent news release by Denver, Colorado-based Aventura, which specializes in “awareness computing” for healthcare.

“The platform intrinsically recognizes each physician by role, location, device, and patient in the room,” according to the company. “With a single secure card tap, Aventura for Speech Recognition simultaneously authenticates the physicians and launches their desktop – including the speech application - eliminating the need for manual login reducing login time from minutes to seconds. The solution is single sign-on (SSO) capable or can easily be incorporated into an existing SSO solution.”

The result is faster, more real-time updates to medical records. Waiting for transcription sometimes takes days, or weeks, and if another physician sees the patient in the interim, critical (or even life-threatening) information is missing from patient records. In addition to the real-time nature of these solutions, they offer the ability to reduce or eliminate misspellings and entry errors, and a more complete record of the physician’s thoughts, orders or observances (no risk for words being left out in transcription or written records).

How quickly the nation implements electronic health records is anyone’s guess – some healthcare facilities seem miles ahead of others – but as more facilities do take on the hurdles of EHR, the time saved, and the real-time communications benefits gained, will likely pay for the process in benefits.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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