Dictated versus database-generated discharge summaries: a randomized clinical trial.
BACKGROUND: Hospital discharge summaries communicate information necessary for continuing patient care. They are most commonly generated by voice dictation and are often of poor quality. The objective of this study was to compare discharge summaries created by voice dictation with those generated from a clinical database. METHODS: A randomized clinical trial was performed in which discharge summaries for patients discharged from a general internal medicine service at a tertiary care teaching hospital in Ottawa were created by voice dictation (151 patients) or from a database (142 patients). Patients had been admitted between September 1996 and June 1997. The trial was preceded by a baseline cohort study in which all summaries were created by dictation. For the database group, information on forms completed by housestaff was entered into a database and collated into a discharge summary. For the dictation group, housestaff dictated narrative letters. The proportion of patients for whom a summary was generated within 4 weeks of discharge was recorded. Physicians receiving the summary rated its quality, completeness, organization and timeliness on a 100-mm visual analogue scale. Housestaff preference was also determined. RESULTS: Patients in the database group and the dictation group were similar. A summary was much more likely to be generated within 4 weeks of discharge for patients in the database group than for those in the dictation group (113 [79.6%] v. 86 [57.0%]; p < 0.001). Summary quality was similar (mean rating 72.7 [standard deviation (SD) 19.3] v. 74.9 [SD 16.6]), as were assessments of completeness (73.4 [SD 19.8] v. 78.2 [SD 14.9]), organization (77.4 [SD 16.3] v. 79.3 [SD 17.2]) and timeliness (70.3 [SD 21.9] v. 66.2 [SD 25.6]). Many information items of interest were more likely to be included in the database-generated summaries. The database system created summaries faster and was preferred by housestaff. Dictated summaries in the baseline and randomized studies were similar, which indicated that the control group was not substantially different from the baseline cohort. INTERPRETATION: The database system significantly increased the likelihood that a discharge summary was created. Housestaff preferred the database system for summary generation. Physicians thought that the quality of summaries generated by the 2 methods was similar. The use of computer databases to create hospital discharge summaries is promising and merits further study and refinement. (+info)
Continuous speech recognition for clinicians.
The current generation of continuous speech recognition systems claims to offer high accuracy (greater than 95 percent) speech recognition at natural speech rates (150 words per minute) on low-cost (under $2000) platforms. This paper presents a state-of-the-technology summary, along with insights the authors have gained through testing one such product extensively and other products superficially. The authors have identified a number of issues that are important in managing accuracy and usability. First, for efficient recognition users must start with a dictionary containing the phonetic spellings of all words they anticipate using. The authors dictated 50 discharge summaries using one inexpensive internal medicine dictionary ($30) and found that they needed to add an additional 400 terms to get recognition rates of 98 percent. However, if they used either of two more expensive and extensive commercial medical vocabularies ($349 and $695), they did not need to add terms to get a 98 percent recognition rate. Second, users must speak clearly and continuously, distinctly pronouncing all syllables. Users must also correct errors as they occur, because accuracy improves with error correction by at least 5 percent over two weeks. Users may find it difficult to train the system to recognize certain terms, regardless of the amount of training, and appropriate substitutions must be created. For example, the authors had to substitute "twice a day" for "bid" when using the less expensive dictionary, but not when using the other two dictionaries. From trials they conducted in settings ranging from an emergency room to hospital wards and clinicians' offices, they learned that ambient noise has minimal effect. Finally, they found that a minimal "usable" hardware configuration (which keeps up with dictation) comprises a 300-MHz Pentium processor with 128 MB of RAM and a "speech quality" sound card (e.g., SoundBlaster, $99). Anything less powerful will result in the system lagging behind the speaking rate. The authors obtained 97 percent accuracy with just 30 minutes of training when using the latest edition of one of the speech recognition systems supplemented by a commercial medical dictionary. This technology has advanced considerably in recent years and is now a serious contender to replace some or all of the increasingly expensive alternative methods of dictation with human transcription. (+info)
Information systems integration in radiology.
Advances in information systems and technology in conjunction with outside forces requiring improved reporting are driving sweeping changes in the practice of radiology. In most academic radiology departments, there can be at least five separate information systems in daily use, a clinical picture archiving and communication system (PACS), a hospital information system (HIS), a radiology information system (RIS), a voice-recognition dictation system, and an electronic teaching/research file system. A PACS will have incomplete, incorrect, and inconsistent data if manual data entry is used. Correct routing of studies for diagnostic reporting and clinical review requires accurate information about the study type and the referring physician or service, often not easily entered manually. An HIS is a hospital-wide information system used to access patient information, reports from various services, and billing information. The RIS is typically a system specifically designed to place radiology orders, to receive interpretations, and to prepare bills for patients. Voice-recognition systems automatically transcribe the radiologist's dictation, eliminating transcription delays. Another system that is needed in a teaching hospital holds images and data for research and education. Integration of diverse systems must be performed to provide the functionality required by an electronic radiology department and the services it supports. Health Level 7 (HL7) and Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) have enabled sharing of data among systems and can be used as the building blocks for truly integrated systems, but the user community and manufacturers need to specify the types of functionality needed to build clinically useful systems. Although technology development has produced the tools for interoperability for clinical and research/educational use, more work needs to be done to define the types of interaction that needs to be performed to realize the potential of these systems. (+info)
Cross-sectional comparison of live and interactive voice recognition administration of the SF-12 health status survey.
OBJECTIVE: To compare interactive voice recognition (IVR) and live telephone methods for administering the SF-12 health status survey (SF-12). STUDY DESIGN: Patients with low back pain received either IVR or live interviews in a cross-sectional design with partial randomization. The interviews consisted of the SF-12 and some additional questions specific to low back pain. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Complete findings were obtainable from 229 patients. Summary scales were compared by using multivariate analysis of variance with mean comparisons for continuously scored items. Response frequencies for categorically scored items were compared by using the chi-square test. RESULTS: The 2 methods produced similar results on the Physical Component Summary scale but not the Mental Component Summary scale. Compared with patients who had a live telephone interview, the patients using IVR acknowledged significantly greater overall mental interference, greater general emotional concerns, and poorer mood and overall health. CONCLUSIONS: Because IVR eliminates the demand characteristics of responding to a personal interviewer, it may be a desirable way to evaluate sensitive topics. It also may reduce costs of data entry, labor, and measurement error. (+info)
Voice-controlled robotic arm in laparoscopic surgery.
AIM: To report on our experience with a voice-directed robotic arm for scope management in different procedures for "solo-surgery" and in complex laparoscopic operations. METHODS: A chip card with orders for the robotic arm is individually manufactured for every user. A surgeon gives order through a microphone and the optic field is thus under direct command of the surgeon. RESULTS: We analyzed 200 cases of laparoscopic procedures (gallbladder, stomach, colon, and hernia repair) done with the robotic arm. In each procedure the robotic arm worked precisely; voice understanding was exact and functioned flawlessly. A hundred "solo-surgery" operations were performed by a single surgeon. Another 96 complex videoscopic procedures were performed by a surgeon and one assistant. In comparison to other surgical procedures, operative time was not prolonged, and the number of used ports remained unchanged. CONCLUSION: Using the robotic arm in some procedures abolishes the need for assist ance. Further benefit accrued by the use of robotic assistance includes greater stability of view, less inadvertent smearing of the lens, and the absence of fatigue. The robotic arm can be used successfully in every operating theater by all surgeons using laparoscopy. (+info)
Temporal encoding of the voice onset time phonetic parameter by field potentials recorded directly from human auditory cortex.
Voice onset time (VOT) is an important parameter of speech that denotes the time interval between consonant onset and the onset of low-frequency periodicity generated by rhythmic vocal cord vibration. Voiced stop consonants (/b/, /g/, and /d/) in syllable initial position are characterized by short VOTs, whereas unvoiced stop consonants (/p/, /k/, and t/) contain prolonged VOTs. As the VOT is increased in incremental steps, perception rapidly changes from a voiced stop consonant to an unvoiced consonant at an interval of 20-40 ms. This abrupt change in consonant identification is an example of categorical speech perception and is a central feature of phonetic discrimination. This study tested the hypothesis that VOT is represented within auditory cortex by transient responses time-locked to consonant and voicing onset. Auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) elicited by stop consonant-vowel (CV) syllables were recorded directly from Heschl's gyrus, the planum temporale, and the superior temporal gyrus in three patients undergoing evaluation for surgical remediation of medically intractable epilepsy. Voiced CV syllables elicited a triphasic sequence of field potentials within Heschl's gyrus. AEPs evoked by unvoiced CV syllables contained additional response components time-locked to voicing onset. Syllables with a VOT of 40, 60, or 80 ms evoked components time-locked to consonant release and voicing onset. In contrast, the syllable with a VOT of 20 ms evoked a markedly diminished response to voicing onset and elicited an AEP very similar in morphology to that evoked by the syllable with a 0-ms VOT. Similar response features were observed in the AEPs evoked by click trains. In this case, there was a marked decrease in amplitude of the transient response to the second click in trains with interpulse intervals of 20-25 ms. Speech-evoked AEPs recorded from the posterior superior temporal gyrus lateral to Heschl's gyrus displayed comparable response features, whereas field potentials recorded from three locations in the planum temporale did not contain components time-locked to voicing onset. This study demonstrates that VOT at least partially is represented in primary and specific secondary auditory cortical fields by synchronized activity time-locked to consonant release and voicing onset. Furthermore, AEPs exhibit features that may facilitate categorical perception of stop consonants, and these response patterns appear to be based on temporal processing limitations within auditory cortex. Demonstrations of similar speech-evoked response patterns in animals support a role for these experimental models in clarifying selected features of speech encoding. (+info)
How Do head and neck cancer patients prioritize treatment outcomes before initiating treatment?
PURPOSE: To determine, pretreatment, how head and neck cancer (HNC) patients prioritize potential treatment effects in relationship to each other and to survival and to ascertain whether patients' preferences are related to demographic or disease characteristics, performance status, or quality of life (QOL). PATIENTS AND METHODS: One hundred thirty-one patients were assessed pretreatment using standardized measures of QOL (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Head and Neck) and performance (Performance Status Scale for Head and Neck Cancer). Patients were also asked to rank a series of 12 potential HNC treatment effects. RESULTS: Being cured was ranked top priority by 75% of patients; another 18% ranked it second or third. Living as long as possible and having no pain were placed in the top three by 56% and 35% of patients, respectively. Items that were ranked in the top three by 10% to 24% of patients included those related to energy, swallowing, voice, and appearance. Items related to chewing, being understood, tasting, and dry mouth were placed in the top three by less than 10% of patients. Excluding the top three rankings, there was considerable variability in ratings. Rankings were generally unrelated to patient or disease characteristics, with the exception that cure and living were of slightly lower priority and pain of higher priority to older patients compared with younger patients. CONCLUSION: The data suggest that, at least pretreatment, survival is of primary importance to patients, supporting the development of aggressive treatment strategies. In addition, results highlight individual variability and warn against making assumptions about patients' attitudes vis-a-vis potential outcomes. Whether patients' priorities will change as they experience late effects is currently under investigation. (+info)
Auditory neuroscience: is speech special?
Speech is thought to be perceived and processed in a unique way by the auditory system of the brain. A recent study has provided evidence that a part of the brain's temporal lobe is specifically responsive to speech and other vocal stimuli. (+info)