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Dragon Medical One Brings Voice Recognition to Epic

Dragon Medical One Brings Voice Recognition to Epic

Hospital-based internist Timothy Niessen was skeptical about Dragon Medical One. He had tried other voice recognition tools, he says, but found they didn’t save time because he had to go back into the medical record to fix misspelled words.

Dragon is better, says Niessen, who has been piloting the tool since late October. “This thing is just so good at getting the jargon right,” he says. All he has to do is speak into a microphone downloaded onto his phone, and Dragon transcribes in Epic in real time.

“I can type 60 or 70 words per minute, but I can dictate 150,” he says. “That means I have that much more time to spend talking with my patients. I’ll just sit and talk right into my notes. I don’t feel like I’m losing time.”

Starting Nov. 14, Dragon became available to any prescribing Epic user across Johns Hopkins Medicine who is interested in using it. It’s a project that’s part of the Joy at Hopkins initiative.  

Patients and families like it, says Niessen, because they can listen as the doctor dictates clinic notes that are then instantly available in their MyChart portal. And providers benefit from a streamlined alternative to keyboarding or waiting for a transcription service.  

“For our busy clinicians, this speech recognition software will be crucial in so many ways,” says Paul Rothman, dean of the medical faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine. “It will help them work more effectively, and therefore allow them to spend more time connecting with patients, which not only improves care but makes each interaction more rewarding. This really is a powerful tool for increasing joy in medicine.”

All providers will see the Dragon icon on the Epic tool bar. There will also be a “Learning” item next to Dragon on the tool bar, which will take you to the Learning Dashboard with more Dragon resources.

To access the tool, providers must install the PowerMic Mobile app to their mobile device, using either Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub or the Microsoft Intune Company Portal. In some high-traffic areas with a lot of background noise, such as emergency departments or intensive care units, a microphone or headset attached to the clinical workstation may work better than the PowerMic Mobile app.

To start transcribing, click on the Dragon icon. A window will pop up asking if you’re syncing to the PowerMic Mobile app or a separate headset. Then click on the PowerMic icon on your phone and start talking.

Niessen says the tool, which follows preprogrammed or custom voice commands like “order basic labs,” saves him from “death by a thousand clicks.” His advice to people who are new to Dragon: Mind your grammar. There’s a big difference, he says, between, “Let’s eat, children” and, “Let’s eat children.”

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