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Voice Recognition in the Medical Transcription Industry

Voice Recognition software and medical voice recognition are becoming more and more sophisticated. This rapidly advancing technology has the potential to upset the balance of established industries in both positive and negative ways.

The Role of the Medical Transcriptionist

One of the industries likely to be affected by Voice Recognition, or VR, technology is the Medical Transcription industry. Medical Transcription involves turning large audio files into typed documents to be used in the medical industry. As such, Medical Transcriptionists train hard to develop a very diverse skillset. They need to combine an up-to-date knowledge of medical lingo and terminology with an extremely high typing speed, a precise knowledge of grammatical structure, and a keen ear that can catch whispered, or misspoken words. Medical transcriptionists need to be able to employ all of these skills at once if they are to be successful at their jobs. Some attend special schools designed to train for exactly these sorts of skills , offering certification and job placement in exchange for tuition.

Voice Recognition software uses a microphone, a pause pedal, and an advanced computer program to do most of the “heavy lifting” in traditional transcription work. Instead of typing each and every word they hear the transcriptionist speaks, or “revoices” it into the microphone.

The Disadvantages

This new technology speeds up the transcription process immensely. While it’s likely to streamline the process, this medical Voice Recognition Software is not going to replace transcriptionists with robots anytime soon. It still needs a human being to speak the words. Science has yet to create the machine that can interpret human speech patterns with the accuracy a human can. The revoicing process works by having the transcriptionist repeat the audio content in a firm, clear voice, devoid of accents or inflection so that the Voice Recognition Software can more easily understand it. In addition, typos and misheard words are still common. In most cases a transcriptionist will still be expected to keep an eye on their screen and be able to edit mistakes on the spot. If having a readable text document is the goal then a human eye is still going to have to go over the text and smooth out the grammatical inconsistencies present in normal human speech in order to make the document legible.

The Advantages

The advantages to Voice Recognition Software in the Medical Transcription field are quite straight forward. Since the mouth is typically much faster than the hands, VR makes the transcription process faster and more accurate, allowing transcriptionists to complete projects quicker and giving them more time to edit documents for readability. The technology is fairly intuitive and requires little training to use. This is definitely an advantage for companies that do Medical Transcription because it gives access to a broader pool of potential employees who can be trained much faster.

Traditional transcriptionist might consider this a negative, however. While the new technology should be easy for trained transcriptionists to adapt to, an influx of quickly trained transcriptionists with less formal experience could create competition that drives down prices. Fully trained manual transcriptionists may find they can no longer command the rates they are used to and might have to accept lower paying work. Hopefully, the speed with which projects can now be completed will help offset this negative.

The advantages and disadvantages may vary depending on who you ask but it’s pretty clear that Voice Recognition technology has the potential to fundamentally alter the way the Medical Transcription industry does business.