While Siri was one of the signature features of the iPhone 4S, the new iPad is merely loaded with "voice dictation". While that means your iPad might not remind you to buy pie crust the next time you enter the supermarket, you can still dictate "Bake an apple pie" into the to-do list.
But is that all voice dictation is good for? Nuance, a company that is reputed to have licensed technology to Apple for use in Siri, thinks voice dictation is a key market, and has put their money where their mouth is, to the tune of $300 million.
Nuance has just announced the acquisition of Transcend Services, a medical transcription and editing services company.
That this is not the first of Nuance's health-related acquisitions is instructive to our discussion of voice recognition. With the growth in regulations requiring electronic medical records, getting data into the computer can be a challenge.
This is made doubly difficult because medical personnel aren't always able to sit behind a desk and type their notes. They need to record information while arm deep in a patient surgery, in rooms contaminated with various communicable nasties, and at other times when they're fully gowned and gloved.
According to the two companies:
With Transcend, Nuance will accelerate access to and expand its customer base within the small- to mid-size hospital market, which comprises approximately 90 percent of hospitals in the U.S. and increasingly demands cost effective, voice-enabled, clinical documentation solutions to achieve Meaningful Use and the transition to ICD-10. With Nuance’s voice-enabled and Clinical Language Understanding technologies and deep electronic health record (EHR) integration, combined with Transcend’s high-quality transcription and editing services, hospitals can make clinical documentation and workflow more productive and cost efficient and extract greater value from clinical information.
This once again underscores the importance of medical documentation and charting in the clinical process, and showcases more opportunities where health and IT are becoming true partners in delivering care to patients worldwide.