Can Speech-to-Text Software Transcribe Medical Words?




We all know that speech-to-text software is getting more sophisticated and becoming an extremely useful tool for businesses from different industries. Some people even think of them as a threat to transcription service providers because they have this notion that speech to text software is going to take their jobs.


As a provider of transcription services, we don’t share the same sentiments. We consider transcription software and devices as important tools that have their place in the business workflow. We see them as technological allies that help businesses speed up their work processes.


Although the accuracy of speech-to-text software has improved over the years, it’s still not perfect—at least not yet. When we say “perfect” we mean the accuracy is not yet at par with human’s accuracy level. It may never be the same but we’re pretty sure it will be very close in the future. It’s not a matter of if but when.


Speech to Text Medical Transcription

Businesses and individuals need transcripts of their audio and video files for various reasons. Vloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, life coaches, and other individual personalities usually need transcripts to repurpose their content for social media platforms. It’s much easier to create content when there’s a text version at the ready.


Many businesses also use transcripts to create content for their marketing campaigns and advertisements. But for other businesses, transcripts are used as a way to store data in a way that it can be systematically archived and retrieved. Yes, I’m talking about hospitals, clinics, medical facilities, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare providers. They need a fast and efficient way to turn recorded audio into readable text for their clinical documentation purposes.


Challenges of Data Entry Work for Healthcare Providers

With the implementation of the HITECH Act (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health), healthcare providers are now required to do a detailed data entry into the electronic health record (EHR) systems. What this means is that on top of the medical tasks, doctors, clinicians, and nurses would have to allot time for writing notes and doing data entry work. This takes away time from patient care. Their engagement and interaction would be significantly reduced because they need to spend time on EHR data entry.


To take the data entry workload off the doctors and nurses, medical transcribers are employed to help in manual note- taking. This works well but it has its drawbacks. The presence of medical scribes makes some patients uncomfortable which sometimes makes them filter their words or become less candid when discussing the details of their health.


A better option is for physicians to record voice notes and send them to medical transcription service providers where the audio notes would be manually transcribed. Here at Umritun, we do a lot of medical transcription on a daily basis, so we understand the kind of challenges that physicians and medical practitioners face when they have to do the transcription themselves. We can only imagine the stress and the pressure that they have to endure just to comply with the law.


With the emergence of highly sophisticated speech-to-text medical transcription software, medical note-taking becomes easier, faster, and more efficient. This type of software is designed specifically to capture and transcribe medical speech. This means that the software can recognize medical words and phrases with accuracy.


So to the question of whether speech-to-text software can capture medical terms, the answer is “yes” if the software is created specifically to do that. For example, Amazon launched its Amazon Transcribe Medical in 2019. This is a machine learning automatic speech recognition (ASR) software service that enables app, software, and web developers to include medical speech-to-text capabilities in their applications.


How Accurate are Speech-To-Text Medical Transcription Software?

The short answer: Pretty accurate.


The long answer: The accuracy would depend on two things, how intelligent the software is and how clear the audio is. Not all transcription software are the same. The more sophisticated the AI is and the more advanced the algorithm is, you can expect the medical transcription software to be satisfactorily accurate. This means it can capture the most commonly used medical terms and then some. When other factors come into play like accents, hard-to-pronounce words, slangs, and verbal tics, accuracy can take a hit.


Could the health providers and users trust the output from the medical transcription software? Yes, but accuracy is of utmost importance in the medical field, so another set of eyes and ears are needed to review the software-transcribed files to ensure that they meet the required standards.


We recognize the need for a speech-to-text medical transcription software to take off the data entry load from doctors, nurses, and medical staff. As transcription service providers, we believe that transcription software and human transcribers can co-exist harmoniously. In fact, we’re doing it right now.

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