By Tim K. Zinn, September, 2010
Although still three to five years away, digitized voice recognition and input may hold the key to a comprehensive electronic patient clinical record.
Editor's Note: This is the 12th and final installment in our year-long 30th anniversary "Pioneers in Healthcare IT" celebration, featuring articles from past issues of Health Management Technology, formerly called Computers in Healthcare. This article appeared in the December 1991 issue. At the time, Tim Zinn was president of Zinn Enterprises Ltd., a Chicago-based hospital information system consulting organization. A graduate of Harvard, Zinn was a nationally known healthcare consultant and futurist specializing in healthcare trends.
Digitized voice recognition has far-reaching ramifications for healthcare information systems (HIS). It holds great promise in the hospital setting, where most professionals are working with their eyes and hands continually. This approach will allow doctors and nurses to enter information about their tasks while they are actually working, rather than relying on their memories to record accurate facts at a later time.
Documenting while doing is especially advantageous for those charged with making detailed and accurate records that are both timely and critical in nature, a situation physicians and nurses encounter regularly during the course of patient care. Further, information can subsequently be sorted into multiple data formats with only one handwritten copy of doctors' orders. Clearly, this form of data entry will not only be more convenient, but will capture close to 100 percent of clinically necessary information, as opposed to the 40 percent that current HIS automation now captures.