Revamping Healthcare with Speech Recognition Technology
The trend for using speech-to-text services has been gaining popularity across industries owing to its flexibility, simplicity, and improvement of the work process. Voice recognition (VR) technologies are widely utilized to bring maximum benefit to businesses and their clients. The development of medical software that incorporates AI, in particular, expands the range of options of the medical practitioners when performing their job.
In the article, we are talking about the advantages of incorporating speech-to-text services into healthcare, analyzing the current market situation and key challenges that may occur when introducing technology into an organization. You will find out how your organization can benefit from making a step in the direction of including given technologies to boost the performance of your staff and, therefore, grow your business.
Businesses across the globe are focusing on advanced practices to reduce the workload off of their employees through the use of AI which includes virtual assistants and chatbots as primary options. According to Gartner’s latest researches, around 25% of employee duties will have been performed through voice commands by 2023 as opposed to 3% in 2019. This will inevitably lead to a growing number of vendors offering speech recognition (SR) services. The North American market for voice and speech recognition tech, for example, is expected to grow to $1.5 billion in revenue by 2024. Which is almost ten times more compared to 2015.
Size of the speech recognition technology market in North America, from 2015 to 2024
(in million U.S. dollars)
Speech recognition technology in action: our experience
As mentioned above, the growing demand for SR tech gave impetus to the whole new market to emerge. Implementation of the aforementioned solutions is by far among the best decisions that healthcare providers can make.
Involving into the buildup of voice recognition medical software, the Agiliway engineering team developed the backend part of the platform as well as introduced ideas to enhance the existing structure of the product.
About the solutions, main development challenges, and tasks
The solution comprises online and desktop applications that allow using voice commands as the main control tool for data entry and navigation inside a document. The solution is available for multiple document software including MS Word, MS Excel, Notepad, LibreOffice.
The range of tasks to execute comprised of recognizing and recording speech, converting speech into text, receiving, perceiving, and processing the incoming commands like format text (e.g. make it in bold, select a specific piece, highlight, etc.) to easier navigation in a document.
The Minimum viable product (MVP) for this project included the performance of a defined scope of commands while working with document services of users’ choice: enable all possible manipulations with the files, enabling notifications, tracking the number of users and their performance in the system to improve the overall functionality, keeping up with all updates of the document software to avoid any system failure.
As to the challenges for implementing the solution, customizing it to individual preferences is the most complicated step. The system shall be able to recognize all possible language specifics such as different accents or a plethora of medical terminology, etc. as we are talking about voice control of the document and data entry.
Since the product belongs to low-level programming, creating a flexible solution to properly operate across multiple document services became of utmost significance.
The step-by-step process of recording and interpreting commands into text goes as follows:
- 1. The commands are given to the application.
- 2. The system creates an audio file.
- 3. Next, we connect to web sockets and transfer the audio file.
- 4. Through the client’s API, the system receives a text version of the commands.
- 5. The system follows the commands.
During the development process, the engineering team build a backend for the platform using.
C#, Web sockets to ensure the persistent connection between a server and a client, WPF to develop client app, manipulate the UI and documents, Windows API to track user behavior in the system: what devices were connected; what doc services are used, etc., Word Interop to manipulate documents, e.g., MS Word and Excel.
In terms of architecture, Model-view-View Model (MVVM) pattern was applied to separate graphical user interface (GUI) from backend logic, therefore, make them independent. As the client’s system contains several major application windows, it was crucial to make each of them save and store data apart from each other.
What are the key advantages of utilizing speech recognition technologies in healthcare?
The majority of time-consuming activities for healthcare workers lie in recording and filling in data of their patients, i.e. treatment procedures, consultations, diagnostics results, etc. That is the whole separate world that requires enhancement of the processes to increase productivity, boost performance, and, as a result, increase patients engagement ratio.
So, what do medical staff gain as a benefit from adding voice recognition into their daily operations?
When conducting an examination, doctors usually talk about what’s going on with their patients. Once they are done, it’s necessary to document the results into their system. Speech recognition tech allows to record everything and then transform it into text automatically, hence, alleviate the burden filling piles of data and concentrate on more significant parts of one’s job. As all information and recommendations are recorded right away, there is a tiny room for medical error such as missing an important piece of data after an appointment.
Entering data via voice recognition software proved to be efficient as it reduces time spent on it. Therefore, medical specialists can examine more patients, analyze more data and handle it more accurately. When doctors are waiting for another doctor’s report on a patient, the role of SR is pivotal as information is updated immediately, which can be life-saving.
Depending on the type of organization or individual practitioner’s specialization, SR can be customized to perform a preferred type of commands, comprehend a certain scope of vocabulary, understand different accents, etc.
As the time for data entry reduces, information is available firsthand to all authorized users. It is impossible to overestimate the potential SR has within healthcare. Starting from examination rooms, where doctors conduct an appointment, record clinical notes simultaneously, and can include their patients’ remarks to further improve and confirm the diagnosis.
Getting SR to operating rooms ensures no physical interaction with the machinery as surgeons can control them with their voice and communicate with other specialists even outside the OR. There is less distraction on pushing a button or whatsoever, and more focus on the procedure.
Speech-to-text services can also aid patients who have issues with moving, thus can utilize their voice commands whenever possible.
Handling possible disadvantages when implementing speech recognition
As mentioned above, speech recognition tech also contains certain disadvantages when it comes to customizing a system to the specific demands of a client.
- Misinterpreting of words is often an issue based on a user’s accent, amount of information software possesses to comprehend, or contextual meaning of a specific word. To minimize error occurrence, software development teams get the system acquainted with as many terminologies, slang, etc. as possible.
- HIPPA and GDPR Compliance is a must as the software holds and handles medical records which are sensitive data and are vital to be protected. Hence, constant monitoring and testing are required to prevent any data breach or leak.
- Expensive development is another reason that stops organizations from implementing speech recognition and aid with mundane tasks. Today, many solutions aren’t costly or time-consuming to create. It is not necessary to develop software from scratch, but use low-level programming and make an add-in to existing applications an organization works with.
Performing a specific scope of activities, voice recognition services are reliable assistants that ensure immediate data entry and reduce the chance of skipping significant information when typing it in. A quarter of everyday duties are envisioned to be voice-controlled by 2023.
The reason for such rapid growth of speech-to-text technologies is the way they make work processes simpler, more productive and save tons of time on data entry or searching for the necessary information that’s in the system. Medical care providers can perform multiple tasks during an examination process or a surgery, focus on what’s more important rather than going through piles of files in their computers.
Potential disadvantages that medical facilities may encounter vanish if you partner with the right software development team. If your organization is still hesitant, Agiliway specialists will gladly discuss how your business can stand out from the competition.