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to 50 words-per-minute dictation. Again, proper training increases accuracy.

Besides technological limitations, one must also consider the human factor. Digitized voice recognition works best when physicians and nurses are trained to give reports in standard formats. The restriction sometimes presents problems for trained clinicians.

Future challenges Today, hospitals are struggling to maintain their role as the central focus of healthcare diagnostics and services. If hospitals are to continue in this capacity, they must embrace the development of electronic clinical patient records using voice recognition.

• Developing networks: As vendors develop the work- station concept to solidify internal data and linkages to ensure uninterrupted data fl ow, hospitals must plan for the future. We are facilitating strategic and action plans for our most sophisticated hospital clients to develop networks to move large volumes of data effi ciently and effectively throughout the hospital and its clinics and labs. • Capitalize on medical staff: Our clients are also capi- talizing on an increasingly computer-literate and de-

manding medical staff who are fi nding it advantageous to collaborate with HIS administration to implement systems that supply them with the records and results they require in a timely manner. • Information fl ow: Finally, we are working with our clients to facilitate the fl ow of information from care provider to payer (third-party payers, the government and benefi ts managers), a concept that will ultimately benefi t the hospital through improved receivables.


One technological development we cannot ignore is the development of ISDN, a broadband, high-speed transmission capability to send voice, text and images over the same line. Although few hospitals in the United States currently have this capability, ISDN will be essential for the hospital to transmit large volumes of data outside the hospital in the long run. These high-speed lines will carry information many times faster than regular telephone lines and facilitate records transactions. In summary, serious application of voice recognition will not truly come for another three to fi ve years, but these technologies are defi nitely on the horizon. HMT


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