Keyboard alternatives appeal to docs

Vendors are offering a variety of options for physicians who would prefer to avoid typing their patient notes into the EHR.

Physicians turn to technology to boost productivity

NASHVILLE, TN – An Electronic Health Record doesn’t accomplish much if providers are reluctant to use it. That’s why there are many new companies helping to spur EHR adoption by providing easy-to-use alternatives to keyboard data entry.

“Clinical documentation doesn’t lend itself to keyboard entry,” said Steve Hau, president of Shareable Ink in Nashville, Tenn. “You need all these drop-down menus that are unwieldy – and doctors aren’t court stenographers.” Shareable Ink offers technology that lets doctors use a digital pen with a built-in laser camera to scan and capture notes, which then get turned into text that flows directly into designated fields in an EHR.

The Shareable Ink solution – also available as a new iPad app – can also replace check-in kiosks. “At the front desk, our patients get a clipboard with a preprinted form and an ordinary looking pen that happens to have a camera,” said Sheila Tonn-Knopf, director of the Center for Orthopedics in Sheffield Village, Ohio.

“Most check-in kiosks capture only contact and insurance information, not meaningful use data on things like smoking cessation. But with Shareable Ink, the patient-generated information gets captured and flows directly to our EHR. Without this automation, we would have needed to add three full-time employees in our front office,” she said.

While some physicians prefer handwritten notes, others are more comfortable with dictation. “Most EHRs are designed for primary care physicians, not specialists,” said Bill Brown, CEO of Entrada in Brentwood, Tenn., which offers a digital dictation system utilizing voice recognition. “Our technology helps all physicians – but particularly specialists – increase revenue and productivity without working an extra two hours each day doing keyboard entry.”

Voice-recognition software has become so swift and accurate that they are rapidly replacing transcriptionists.

With an Entrada system, a physician dictates into a digital recorder using special voice tags. “After the doctor dictates, within minutes we can generate a finished text which requires only a quick read by what we call an ‘editor’, who makes a few minor corrections and you’re good to go,” said Brown. “But an even bigger benefit is that the data then flows directly into the correct fields in the EHR.”