Cosgrove Predicts Voice Recognition Will Ease EHR Frustration for Physicians

One of the most well-known physicians in the United States predicts that voice recognition technology is poised to be a game changer for physicians who are disenchanted with electronic health records (EHRs). Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, MD, former president and CEO at Cleveland Clinic and keynote speaker at AHIMA’s 2018 Annual Convention and Exhibit in Miami, FL, said voice recognition “is the killer app” with potential to improve electronic health record (EHR) usability for physicians, in a presentation at a recent U.S. News & World Report Healthcare of Tomorrow conference.

Cosgrove, who is advising Google as it seeks to enter the healthcare technology industry, envisions a future in which a doctor’s face-to-face conversation with a patient could provide all the information an EHR needs to document that patient’s encounter. He says that a doctor would speak to the computer and the patient simultaneously, eliminating the need for a keyboard to enter that same information. This same type of voice technology could be used in intake and diagnostics as well, Cosgrove said, according to a report by FierceHealthcare. He added that voice recognition works so well now that it recognizes when an individual is intoxicated based on verbal cues.

Voice recognition is just one example of technology that could be built on top of cumbersome EHRs to improve efficiency and eliminate “a lot of pain and a lot of heartache” that comes with those systems, Cosgrove said, according to FierceHealthcare.

According to Cosgrove, Google is still in the process of evaluating which aspects of healthcare technology hold the most opportunity for the company, but Fierce notes that several recent actions reflect what the tech giant is considering. For example, Google has partnered with the National Institutes of Health to build a biomedical research database. It has also hired former Geisinger CEO David Feinberg, MD, to help oversee medical projects.

Google currently employs over 35,000 engineers that could potentially be dedicated to healthcare and non-healthcare initiatives at any given time, Cosgrove explained. He echoed a common frustration felt by those working in healthcare, which is a sense that providers have a wealth of data at their fingertips, yet are short on ways to easily access it.

Mary Butler is the associate editor at Journal of AHIMA.

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