Speech recognition market poised for growth

By Bernie Monegain
10:27 AM

Providers report a demonstrable return on their speech recognition dollars, according to a new report from KLAS. Participants of the study indicated benefits of speech recognition such as staff reductions, improved report turnaround times and increased physician satisfaction.

"The speech recognition market is ripe for healthy growth," said Ben Brown, author of the report. "Currently, less than one in four hospitals use the technology, however, in light of meaningful use and the benefits providers point out in this study, we expect it will assume a more prominent place in the role of clinical documentation."

Speech Recognition 2010: Vocalizing Benefits includes feedback from 355 providers and covers both back-end and front-end speech-recognition technology.
Providers indicated there is room for improvement. They would like speech systems to learn more quickly. Some customers report accent challenges with speakers who are not native English speakers. Some also report that adopting a front-end speech technology system tends initially to be disruptive to workflow.

Though there is a learning curve, and some providers report a workflow interruption while adopting speech recognition technology, physicians are getting used to it and embracing it, the report shows.

[See also: KLAS names top 20 software and service vendors.]

"Generally the KLAS survey finds that a culture change occurs as providers begin to fall in love with speech-recognition technology," said Brown. "Once physicians realize that by spending a few more minutes up front they save time and money in the long run, many are sold on it."

Nuance continues to be the power player in the speech recognition market. Nuance's eScription takes first place in the back-end section of the report, a direct result of happy, loyal customers who are able to document direct savings, Brown concludes. Dolbey Fusion Speech performs well against Nuance with its back-end speech system.

[See also: Nuance and IBM collaborate on clinical language understanding .]

Nuance also performs well in the front-end speech segment, taking both first and second place with PowerScribe and RadWhere. MedQuist's SpeechQ is Nuance's biggest competitor in front-end speech software and is also growing its stake in the industry. Agfa's TalkStation has been improving slowly and steadily, Brown says, but suffers from inadequate support and poor functionality and takes fourth place of four.