Digital Dictation and Speech Recognition
software are everywhere! Just listen.
Digital dictation (WinScribe) allows
authors (people who dictate) to dictate from anywhere in
the world using virtually any input device (PC, PDA, digital
recorder, the Internet, even their cell phones) and have
their dictation automatically routed to the appropriate
secretary or transcriptionist for immediate transcription.
It’s all done digitally,
which makes for very clean recordings. Going digital also
provides complete tracking of a dictation job from start
Speech recognition (Dragon NaturallySpeaking) software
is another form of digital dictation. It captures the spoken
word, digitally, and transcribes dictation into text in
a Windows application, such as Word or Outlook. It has
become amazingly accurate, particularly for healthcare,
with its preinstalled, highly specialized medical vocabularies.
Combining both technologies allows your
dictation to be easily captured digitally and either edited
by you or transcribed first by the speech recognition software,
then routed to a secretary/typist for editing and finalization.
Your work gets done more efficiently; your productivity
increases and your reports are ready sooner.
These state-of-the-art technologies can reduce or eliminate the
cost of transcription, provide complete control of the
dictation workflow (HIPPA) and dramatically decrease
turnaround time on reports. Many hospitals, clinics
and medical practices are upgrading to digital/speech
dictation or replacing their outdated or failing dictation
systems with these solutions.
Several key elements must be considered prior to establishing
which solution is best for your particular organization or
- Workflow: How is your
current dictation and transcription moving through your
- Equipment: Do your systems need to be
- Applications: What software will
you be using with the solution?
- Input Device: What input devices will
work best for your users?
- Integration: Given the size of your
organization, how will the solution be implemented?
will be working with the solution?
Think about how you currently get your reports or documents
completed. Do you dictate to a tape recorder, send the
tape to a transcription company, then have them courier
those documents back to you for review and signature?
Understanding your workflow helps you to better define and
understand your needs. This will ultimately lead to appropriate
recommendations for software, equipment, training, maintenance
and a budget. It takes dedication, time and money to implement
and make a speech recognition or digital dictation solution
work well, but once set up, it will save you both time and
For optimum performance of NaturallySpeaking software, a
Pentium 4/2 GHz with a minimum of 1 GB RAM is a must. Windows
XP (SP2), 1 GB free disk space and Internet connection (to
activate the license). A SoundBlaster (or compatible) sound
card is required or a USB input device that can bypass lower
quality sound systems can be substituted.
For WinScribe digital dictation, the system requirements
for the dictation and the transcription stations are significantly
lower (P3 or higher, 256 MB RAM, sound card) than those required
for speech recognition software. However, digital dictation
will require a dedicated server and
if using Dragon, the client computers will have to meet the
system requirements of Dragon.
Operating Systems and Applications
Dragon NaturallySpeaking operates best with Windows XP and
is designed to work with Microsoft Office XP and 2003 applications
such as Word, Outlook and Excel (the patch coming in March
will add compatibility with Vista and Office 2007). You may
also utilize custom software in your organization such as
electronic medical record software, case law management or
contact management software. This will require some customization
and integration of the Dragon software with those applications.
WinScribe Digital dictation client software can be installed
on Windows 2000 or XP. Its server software requires a Windows
2000 or 2003 Server.
For best results, an excellent microphone is crucial to both digital
dictation and particularly for speech recognition software.
Professional Solution speech recognition software ships with
a high quality headset/microphone, but there are many other
Handheld microphones, like the Philips SpeechMike, work well
with both types of software. Along with a built in microphone,
there is a track ball for moving the mouse as well as four
buttons to control mouse clicks (Plus models only).
For those individuals who have to work “wire free” due
to mobility requirements, wireless headset microphones are
available. Wireless mics have been used in Pathology labs,
allowing the pathologist to work on tissue samples with both
hands while dictating a narrative directly to the computer.
So far, success is somewhat limited for PDAs and speech
recognition however, they are acceptable for digital
dictation. These devices rarely have “Microphone
In” jacks for hooking up an external mic for good,
clear recording. We do not recommend the use of PDAs with
speech recognition at this time, even though the manufacturers
Tablet PCs have come a long way over the last several years
and are now suitable for use with both the digital dictation and speech
recognition software. Zephyr-TEC recommends the Motion
Computing line of tablet PCs (#1 in the US) including the
8.1 inch LS800 weighing just 2.2 pounds and the 12.1 inch
LE1600 weighing just 4.4 pounds with an extended battery.
Careful planning and coordination are needed to integrate
either, or both, of these solutions into the workflow to
minimize learning curve and disruptions. Both Dragon and
WinScribe digital dictation software are customizable and
programmable to allow tight integration with applications
used. Installations of digital dictation solutions are
more complex and involved than installation of desktop
speech recognition. IT/Networking support are essential
for digital dictation deployment but not be necessary for
Training and What It Takes
For Dragon NaturallySpeaking, even the experienced computer
user should take a minimum of four hours of speech recognition
training and then additional training/integration to take
complete advantage of the advanced features of the Professional
editions (Pro, Medical and Legal versions). Training teaches
the quick development of voice macros (dictation shortcuts
or "normals") to be used to increase your productivity.
If a transcriptionist is going to be correcting the desktop
speech recognition text output, a couple of hours of training
is necessary to learn how to properly correct the mistakes
made by the speech recognition software.
With WinScribe digital dictation, there is generally very
little training for those who dictate (authors) since the
interfaces are simple and mimic a tape recorder. The typist
may require anywhere from 1-3 hours to learn the in's and
out's and to program the transcription features to the individuals
needs. It is the System Manager that will require the most
amount of training and that usually takes about a day, depending
on the complexity of the system.
Since 1993, Zephyr-TEC has been selling, installing, training
and supporting Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition
and WinScribe digital dictation software. We have developed
our own Learning Guides and custom macros sets for NaturallySpeaking
(speech recognition) and Microsoft Office. Our Fastrack Learning
Guide for NaturallySpeaking as well as our other Learning
Guides (including our custom macro sets) is copyrighted and
proprietary material. Our NaturallySpeaking macros add tremendous
functionality to NaturallySpeaking itself.
Zephyr-TEC has won many Nuance Partnering for Excellence
awards and is also a certified WinScribe partner. We work
directly with the developers and application engineers of
these companies and are always invited to participate in
beta testing of these solutions. This keeps us on the forefront
of technology to better assist our clients. Zephyr-TEC is
in a unique position to successfully implement these solutions.
more by downloading “Talk
the Talk” our primer on digital
dictation and speech recognition.
our website today: www.zephyr-tec.com
Or Call us at 1-877-493-7497