October 1, 2013
EMRs have been on the market for quite some time now. Most doctors are familiar with the pros and cons. What hasn’t changed much through the years, though, is user satisfaction.
At least, that’s the story of those who use traditional, point-and-click EMRs. Doctors that use voice-driven EMRs have a different tale to tell.
The reason is simple: voice-driven EMRs shine where point-and-click EMRs fall short: ease of use, speed, and flexibility.
Ease of use. The number one complaint regarding point-and-click EMRs is that they take forever to learn how to use. With all the information that has to be documented for each encounter, it can get overwhelming to find the right buttons and search through endless drop-down menus to document each note correctly.
Voice’s number one benefit, on the other hand, is that it eliminates navigation problems. A voice-driven EMR allows you to command and control your way through the note and dictate the information rather than search and click, search and click, over and over again. This style of charting very closely mimics what doctors are used to—especially if they already dictate—which is another reason why the learning curve for voice-driven EMRs is virtually nonexistent.
Speed. Because doctors have to search through thousands of data fields a day to find the information they need for their notes, point-and-click EMRs slow doctors down even more than paper does. In practices where time is already limited, this is more than an inconvenience—it can, and does, negatively affect patient care and employee satisfaction.
However, because voice-driven EMRs are so much more user friendly, they speed up the unavoidable charting process considerably. With a standard point-and-click system, it generally takes doctors comfortable with the system about 11 minutes to complete a note. With voice, though, it takes less than two minutes, every time. This frees up time to be spent on patients and greatly improves work-life balance because doctors actually get to go home on time.
Flexibility. Point-and-click EMRs can be customized somewhat, but when you’re using a system that relies on points and clicks, there is only so much you can do to get the software to your needs. This means that doctors will have to change the way they do things, rather than adjust the software to incorporate with their current workflow.
Voice is much more flexible. Because the EMR is based on voice commands and dictation, doctors can cruise through the note in whatever way they are most comfortable with. They are not constrained by hard-to-find buttons or pre-formulated data options. This gives doctors much more control over how they chart notes.
The EMR market is going through a pretty major shift right now. Unsurprisingly, doctors are ditching their hard-to-use EMRs for systems that are flexible and easy to use and that don’t slow the doctor down. In other words, doctors don’t want point-and-click EMRs. Voice is rapidly becoming the EMR of choice, especially for those who are replacing systems.