Traditional dictation and transcription of radiology reports has long been viewed as an inefficient and costly process. Hoping to solve that problem is eDictation, a Marlton, NJ-based provider of structured reporting and speech recognition software that debuted at the 2001 RSNA meeting in Chicago.
"This is a product designed for people who are fed up with the problems of conventional dictation and transcription, and who may realize that speech recognition affects their workflow or doesn't work for everyone," said president and founder Dr. Curtis Langlotz, who launched eDictation in 1998.
The product combines what the company calls "point and click" structured reporting with the Dragon speech recognition engine. Radiologists begin the reporting process with a template that's based on the exam type, and select appropriate descriptive terms to create the report.
"Because of the templates, macros, and the structured fashion in which the point-and-click reports are created, many of the normal or near-normal reports can be created in a single click," Langlotz said.
Thanks to the use of templates and macros, the software confers report creation time savings compared with traditional speech recognition products, he said. And the incorporation of speech recognition brings users an additional report customization tool, Langlotz said.
"Not every portion of every report will be suitable for strict structuring and coding," he said. "We wanted to allow the radiologist flexibility to create free-text reports, either on a report-by-report basis, or on a sentence-by-sentence basis."
After electronic signature, the reports are automatically forwarded to referring physicians. The eDictation software can function as a stand-alone offering for sites that do not have PACS or RIS networks. In addition, it can be integrated with PACS and RIS installations, Langlotz said.
"Our system can create its worklist automatically from the list of completed exams in the RIS, so as soon as the images have been acquired and the exam is completed on the RIS, it appears in our worklist and is available to the radiologist," he said. "(For PACS integration), the software can capture selected portions of imaging studies for inclusion in the report."
The reports, which can be produced in Web-based formats, also integrate well with Web-based distribution methods, Langlotz said. In October 2001, eDictation formed a partnership with Link Medical Computing, a healthcare software integration firm. The relationship with Link allows eDictation to integrate its products with other healthcare information systems in place at customer locations, according to eDictation.
In addition to the benefits of providing improved service to referring physicians, eDictation believes the software's patient management benefits will also strike a chord with customers. The system creates a relational database that allows users to track data such as image quality for quality improvement among technologists. In addition, it can automatically generate faxes and reminder letters for patients, Langlotz said.
In other benefits, the system facilitates coding accuracy, leading to improved billing, Langlotz said.
"You're more likely to get clean claims that get paid the first time," he said.
By allowing radiologists to finalize the report at its creation, the billing process is accelerated. This allows practices to reduce accounts receivable, Langlotz said.
The vendor is selling its software under a capital purchase model, as well as with a per-report approach. While declining to provide exact cost figures, Langlotz said that the system will pay for itself within approximately 18 months with a capital purchase, and costs 30% less than traditional transcription with the per-report model.
Clinical testing of the software was performed at the Philadelphia Radiology Group in Pennsylvania. New Brunswick X-Ray in New Brunswick, NJ, is another eDictation customer. Several other sales are in the pipeline, Langlotz said. eDictation is currently distributing its software directly to end-users, but is also working to formalize OEM and channel partner relationships, Langlotz said.
By Erik L. Ridley
AuntMinnie.com staff writer
January 23, 2002
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