Things My CIO Could Save

The USA World Cup Team lost a thrilling match with Belgium recently, but what many Americans will remember most from that game is the record-setting performance (16 saves) by our goalkeeper, Tim Howard. It was so impressive that it is still a trending topic on social media, with fans around the world superimposing Howard’s image onto photos of other precarious situations with the hashtag #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave. Among some of the more hilarious photos are Tim Howard saving the Titanic, Tim Howard saving the dinosaurs from a massive meteor, and Tim Howard saving Mufasa from being trampled by wildebeest in the The Lion King.

Let’s be honest, every hospital CIO, CMIO, CFO, and CEO hopes their career will turn out like Tim Howard’s performance, where time after time they find ways to deflect or successfully handle the onslaught of challenges to their organization’s efficiency, productivity, and reimbursement. Front-end speech (FES) recognition is one tool at these leaders’ disposal. It has gained momentum in healthcare due to its ability to reduce transcription costs, shorten documentation times, and facilitate more complete patient narratives. Its success is so widespread that in a recent KLAS report on FES, the vast majority of organizations KLAS spoke with who currently have front-end speech said they plan to expand its use in their organization.

However, hospital executives are fighting a major battle with physicians who complain that FES doesn’t work well with their workflows, has too big of a learning curve, is not intuitive, or is not accurate. Not surprisingly, nearly half of those we spoke with identified physician adoption as their key struggle.

The best defense against physician resistance is a coordinated strategy by the speech vendor and the provider organization to provide training, templates, and physician champions. Nuance, Dolbey, and M*Modal are the major players in the FES market, and clients of each are fairly optimistic that their vendor will deliver the future technology and support they will need to appease clinicians and facilitate greater adoption. However, each of these vendors has very different strengths and challenges associated with their technology, service, cost, etc. These, along with providers’ various strategies, are discussed at length in our recently published report Front-End Speech 2014: Functionality Doesn’t Trump Physician Resistance.”

Optimism is very high that FES will continue to make noticeable gains in the reduction of documentation time, completeness of the patient narrative, and reduction of transcription costs. If CIOs can pull off a coordinated, successful defense against physician-adoption challenges, who knows? Maybe we’ll start seeing pictures with the hashtag #ThingsMyCIOCouldSave.

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