Dictation for Doctors: Why Do Physicians Use It and How Does It Work?

    professional mid age medical doctor using laptop in office

    Quick! You have six patients to see. Oh, and you’ve got to wrap up the charts from the last twelve.

    Plus, you have procedures to do in rooms two, four, and five. You also have a phone call on line one, and you need to attend to a patient in room seven that had a procedure two weeks ago.

    Did we mention that the clinic closes in thirty minutes, and you need to be home in an hour for dinner? Yikes!

    Most physicians face these kinds of problems every single day. In fact, most physicians work overtime on a regular basis.

    If you’ve been struggling with these issues, there is a better way. It’s called medical dictation.

    To learn more about dictation for doctors and how it can save you more time in the clinic, keep reading.

    Why Does Dictation for Doctors Exist?

    Technologists, physicians, and other passionate individuals worked to create medical voice recognition software. These advanced systems help physicians get through daily charting struggles.

    Often, physicians are stuck in the office with hundreds of charts to do and no time to get them done. This means that charts could take months for physicians to finish. Once a physician finishes a chart, this chart is then passed on to every other physician that sees that patient.

    Because other medical professionals are reading the chart and using it to make medical decisions for the patient in the future, it’s important that the chart has accurate information and a detailed look at the time that the patient spent with the physician that wrote the chart.

    Medical charting is essential in today’s world. It prevents medical errors, patient assumptions, and miscommunication of vital information.

    Medical dictation software works to fix all of the issues that doctors have with charting. By using artificial intelligence that uses voice recognition, medical dictation software can pick up medical terms and phrases that physicians use in their charts. It’s like the speech-to-text systems that we can find on the average smartphone but for doctors.

    How Does Dictation for Doctors Work?

    Most dictation software comes with a microphone that the doctor should speak into. This microphone hooks up to any computer or laptop. Typically, all you need is a computer or laptop with a USB port.

    This microphone connects to dictation software that the physician has on that laptop or computer. This software can connect to the electronic medical record system that the medical facility uses.

    From there, the doctor can work to speak out their charts rather than typing every word out. Many kinds of dictation software allows physicians to save commonly-used phrases as well.

    For example, you might have a phrase that you put in every single chart. Maybe it’s a phrase that you input about diabetic patients, like this one:

    “I have discussed proper medication use with the patient. We have also discussed adequate diet and exercise and created a plan for the patient to follow for the next three months. The patient has agreed to the plan.”

    You can save this plan in the dictation system under a codename like “diabetic plan.” Instead of having to say the full phrase, you can say “diabetic plan.”

    Is Dictation for Doctors HIPAA-Friendly?

    Don’t worry. These dictation systems don’t save the charts themselves. They only recognize the words that you say and put them in the chart.

    It’s completely HIPAA-friendly!

    Plus, since the software is on the computer or laptop associated with the medical facility, any phrases that the doctor saves to the software are saved to the computer rather than the cloud.

    Is Dictation for Doctors Faster Than Typical Charting?

    In almost all cases, dictation is much faster than typing. A lot of people assume that dictation is going to be more difficult than typing because of the mistakes that the dictation software may make.

    However, in actuality, the voice recognition software doesn’t make enough mistakes to cancel out the time that you’re saving by speaking out your charts rather than typing them.

    It’s easy to go into each patient’s chart and quickly say a summary of the visit that you had with them.

    How Can I Take Advantage of Dictation for Doctors?

    If you’re looking to get as much as you can out of medical dictation software, you should have a steady flow of charting throughout the day. Most physicians write at least the patient’s HPI and physical exam directly after seeing them. Some may also write out some of the patient course (as far as they know at the moment).

    By writing out these parts of the chart directly after seeing the patient, you’re ensuring that you’re remembering everything that you and the patient discussed. Writing these parts later may cause you to forget some information.

    A few days later, these physicians then fill out the rest of the chart after lab work has come back.

    It’s helpful to take five minutes in between seeing each patient to quickly do this. Then, you only have the end of your chart to do when labs come back in a couple of days.

    Some physicians go through labs at the beginning or end of their workday to knock out all of these charts at once. Some prefer to get a head start on the day by getting these charts finished, while others prefer for this to be the last thing that they do to wrap up their day.

    The choice is yours and may depend on your personal and professional schedule.

    The bottom line is that you should be breaking all of your charts up throughout the day. Don’t try to tackle everything at once or you may find yourself stressing out about every single chart.

    Where Can I Find More Information?

    Using dictation for doctors is a huge time-saver and stress-reliever. Every medical office should give their physicians access to dictation software to help with their work and patient care.

    To learn more about how you can improve your professional life as a doctor, check out the rest of our blog.