Survey: 62 Percent of Docs Use Speech Recognition, But Cite Concerns About Accuracy

Sept. 26, 2018
Two-thirds of physicians are currently using speech recognition technology with their electronic health record (EHR) solution, yet 23 percent have no plans to adopt speech recognition, according to a Reaction Data survey about the use of speech-enabled EHRs.

Two-thirds of physicians are currently using speech recognition technology with their electronic health record (EHR) solution, yet 23 percent have no plans to adopt speech recognition, according to a Reaction Data survey about the use of speech-enabled EHRs.

Reaction Data, a market research firm focused on the healthcare and life sciences industries, surveyed 300 physicians to gauge where speech recognition technology is going in healthcare and what providers’ plans are for speech recognition, as well as which vendors are being used most. Among the respondents, 18 percent were pediatricians, 18 percent were classified as “other,” 9 percent were family medicine physicians, 8 percent were internal medicine doctors, and the remaining percentage made up of a number of specialties, including orthopedic surgeons, neurology, psychiatry, anesthesiology, surgery, emergency medicine and even chief medical officers (CMOs).

While 62 percent of doctors say they are currently using speech recognition in their EHR, four percent are currently implementing the technology and 11 percent plan to adopt the technology in the next two years. Close to a quarter have no plans to deploy a speech solution.

Examining the reasons for not adopting speech recognition, respondents cited budgetary constraints as a top reason, mentioned by 19 percent of respondents. Sixteen percent said their physicians prefer to document by hand directly into the EHR as their reason for not deploying a speech recognition technology solution, and 16 percent cited a concern about speech recognition’s accuracy. Twelve percent said their physicians would not use it and 9 percent voiced concerns about the difficulty of integrating the technology with their EHRs. Almost one-third (29 percent) cited “Other” reasons, including not having an EHR, charting manually and retirement.

The report authors note that getting physicians to use speech recognition could be a challenge especially for those getting close to retirement. “Some still say the physicians prefer to document into the EHR manually. The question is, will that mindset change as the more tech-savvy generation continues to displace the older, retiring generation that are the least likely to adopt,” the report authors wrote.

The report notes that new advancements such as natural language processing (NLP) might alleviate some physicians’ hesitation about speech recognition technology.

Another factor is the millennial generation and the younger generation of physicians who are comfortable with and have come to expect high usability tech in most aspects of their lives. “If they’re using Siri to text, write emails, etc, the expectation may certainly be there to navigate solutions they use in their medical practice. In essence, tools that will streamline their processes will surely embraced,” the report authors wrote.

Looking at the vendors that are being used, the survey results indicate that Nuance is dominating the market, with 86 percent of providers who are using speech recognition are utilizing Nuance. Twelve percent of users are utilizing M*Modal, and 2 percent are using IBM.

The survey also indicates that users of speech recognition are extremely happy with its performance, with 61 percent of users likely to recommend it. “Those who scored their system highly pointed out their satisfaction with accuracy and the ease of training their staff,” the report authors wrote. “However, some are still not convinced their tool is where it needs to be. Ironically, accuracy and ease of use are also hot buttons for those who are dissatisfied.”

Looking at speech recognition technology replacement rates, 97 percent of respondents using speech recognition technology have no plans to switch to another vendor. “To only have a 3 percent replacement rate says a lot about the speech recognition vendors. In our previous EHR Satisfaction report, we saw replacement rates ranged from 11 percent to 16 percent. Though the number of those leaving is small, we are seeing slightly more going from Nuance and switching to M*Modal,” the report authors state.

Among those respondents with plans to adopt speech recognition in the next two years, 77 percent are looking at Nuance, and 11 percent are considering M*Modal. And the data indicates that Nuance currently has a strong hold on this market. Since 2015, the percentage of those considering Nuance has jumped 18.8 percent, the survey found.

According to the survey, 40 percent of respondents use Epic EHR solutions, 13 percent use Cerner, 9 percent use Allscripts, 8 percent use Meditech and 4 percent use eClinicalWorks. Three-fourths of respondents reported having seamless integration between their solution and their EHR platform.

According to responses, Nuance integrates well with most major EHRs—among Epic users, 75 percent reported seamless integration with Nuance’s speech recognition technology while 86 percent of Cerner users reporting seamless integration. Only 55 percent of Allscripts users reported that Nuance integrated well with their EHR, and 64 percent of Meditech users reported seamless integration with Nuance.

The survey data also indicates that M*Modal clients have less trouble with integration, with 100 percent of Epic and Allscripts users reporting seamless integration.

Looking ahead as the market evolves, the report authors note, “The seeming challenge for Nuance is how they will adapt and evolve with the market and how long can they hold off an aggressive up-and-coming challenger like M*Modal, to say nothing about exciting new players like nVoq.”

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