May 26, 2021
Voice recognition software boosts clinicians’ productivity
By Jamie Brown
My love for home services comes from the joy I see in the faces of our patients who can continue living with their families. Sam* is one of those patients. He’s a 71-year-old patient cared for in his northern Idaho home by Lisa, one of Eden Health’s clinicians. Sam’s a tinkerer. Nine times out of ten, he’s wearing his work gloves and a trucker hat. He recently had his second leg removed because of complications related to diabetes and circulatory issues, but it’s not slowing him down. Sam treasures being able to make lunch for his wife Alice, who works from home—and he’s fully mastered his power wheelchair, which he uses to shoot into his workshop.
Using speech to text in the EHR
It’s my job to lead the home services division at Eden Health. But my passion is serving as an advocate for our frontline clinicians, like Lisa.”Jamie Brown, Vice President of Home Services at Eden Health (Home Health, Hospice, Home Care)
It’s my job to lead the home services division at Eden Health. But my passion is serving as an advocate for our frontline clinicians, like Lisa. She was drawn to the healthcare profession because of her cousin who was wheelchair-bound due to a progressive neurological condition. That experience taught Lisa at a young age that physical limitations don’t have to limit a person’s aspirations in life. Our passion for our patients and our clinicians drove Eden Health to adopt nVoq speech recognition software to document care in Homecare Homebase’s PointCare EHR. Before using speech to text to document care, our clinicians were typing hours’ worth of documentation for our patients. Since our deployment, we’ve measured the time savings. On average, our clinicians are documenting admissions 30 minutes faster. Multiply that by the number of admissions a clinician documents in a day, and that’s a significant time savings. Because Lisa and her clinician-colleagues can document care while they’re in the home with a patient, it means they’re not documenting after their scheduled shift. That’s good for Eden Health’s bottom line: It means we’re not paying overtime.
Best practices for adopting speech to textI want to free up our clinicians to focus on patient care, rather than worrying about spending hours every night documenting in the EHR. With Eden Health, we need to do this across 16 different offices in five states. Here are three best practices for deploying speech to text:
Choose speech software that supports HIPAA compliance.Siri can help you locate the closest gas station. But it doesn’t support HIPAA compliance—we had to turn off the speech option on our clinicians’ tablets and smartphones—and Siri doesn’t include a medical vocabulary.
Select a go-to contact for clinicians out in the field.To support clinicians out in the field while they learn to document using speech to text, we give them the name, phone number, and email address for a person who can answer their questions. That person is also in charge of getting clinicians excited about the software and how it can benefit them.
Confirm that the patient understands their care plan.Because the clinician is documenting by voice in real-time, the patient in the home can hear what they’re saying about the visit and their care plan, and the plan for the next visit. Documenting care plans by voice really helps us from a regulatory and audit perspective as well.
Deploying speech among our clinicians is also making them happier at work. Eden Health was awarded a Great Place to Work® certification for the second year in a row for 2020-2021. But we got consistent feedback for years that documenting care in the EHR was complicated and it takes a lot of time. Investing in speech to text is helping our clinicians focus on patient care, and they’re happier as a result.
*Sam is not the patient’s real name. Jamie Brown is vice president of home services with Vancouver, Washington-based Eden Health, which operates 17 home health, hospice, and home care agencies in six different states. Eden Health is the Home Services Division of EmpRes Healthcare Management, which operates 60 skilled-nursing and assisted-living facilities.