Tuesday, December 27, 2011

If you are a medical provider and you do this, we hate you

...Dropping the humor mask for a moment, folks. Please take a look at the following post over on the excellent Dr Grumpy's blog: http://drgrumpyinthehouse.blogspot.com/2011/12/beware-of-dragon.html

It seems providers using front-end speech recognition--sending the dictated drafts straight to the chart without proofreading or editing--have finally been forced to unhappily recognize what we at Horse HQ have been illustrating for a while now: Despite the urgings of VR vendors waving fistfuls of dollars in sweet cost savings, VR's vaunted low error percentage is nowhere near what's advertised; the much-touted learning algorithms are not all that, either.  (At my hospital, e.g., VR software remains unable to recognize the word "gout," after over two years and literally thousands of corrections. But I digress). 

So some medical providers now must recognize that there are errors in the speech-recognized reports on their charts. Oh, dear. What do they do? Do they decide to take  time out to proofread each report, or have an experienced professional do it for them, or have someone, anyone do it for them? 

No. That might increase costs. Can't do that. Instead, they make the obvious choice: A magical solution. They accept the errors; nay, they embrace them, for  powerful magic exists that can make mistakes disappear: A disclaimer!  Who cares if bizarre VR errors make a well-educated medical professional appear sloppy and careless at best, and at worst, compromise patient care? There's a disclaimer!  Right there on every report! Powerful juju against disrespect, bafflement, expanding confusion, and lawyers! All they need to do is be up-front about it: Tell the world their reports are generated by speech recognition, and then... any errors or omissions are not their fault.  

It will be interesting to see how this disclaimer thing plays out...sure, technologic change is a juggernaut that can't be stopped, but even so, reason must step in, here. Magic, not so much. 

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