The new record system does have tremendous capability, and the templating for exams and populating of notes are fantastic features. But I still found it exhausting to type all day in front of patients, and I wasn’t happy about losing my focus and eye contact with them.
And while the electronic record was indeed beneficial for many years, changing new records in conjunction with having to perform required documentation that was far beyond what was necessary just a few years ago meant that it was time once again to embrace another level of technology: voice recognition.
Today’s voice-recognition capability, especially for medical providers, is phenomenal. Downloadable programs are available, but we chose to use a cloud-based Internet program with a monthly subscription instead. The benefit is that it seems to be a little faster, and it is updated automatically instead of having to buy updates separately.
While getting started requires some financial outlay, having the voice-recognition program has made a tremendous difference in job satisfaction for me. It has also improved my life in other ways. As one PA in our office said, “You have been given the gift of time.”
This final “high-tech” addition to our practice has freed up a significant amount of personal time. I also find that I can expand upon my histories, assessments, and plans without taking extra time — which is helpful for future visits. I generally dictate right in front of the patient, particularly the assessment and plan. This is good because my patients hear exactly what I am thinking.
I can also move that to patient instructions or dictate new instructions, which they get in their after-visit summary. Voice-recognition has also been quite helpful for answering phone messages, clinical messages in the patient portal, and writing notes to patients regarding lab results.
All in all, it has been a win-win situation! Ultimately, the cost worked out to be very fair. I feel certain that a voice-recognition program might even help reduce physician burnout.