Is Speech Recognition the answer to all your problems?

There are business practices that make sense to the MTSO regardless of speech recognition – but sometimes it is undergoing a big change like a speech rec conversion that uncovers existing strengths and weaknesses.

Lets start by listing some Truths about Speech Rec that many speech rec vendors won’t tell you – these are some of the things we’ll be talking about in more detail in coming posts.

1. Speech recognition will not compensate for poor work habits, inefficient management practices, insufficient training, poor quality, illogical pricing practices, unfair MT compensation, or weaknesses in the transcription platform.

2. Assuming you can use speech recognition to hire unskilled MTs at lower line rates will increase your head count, decrease your quality, and increase expenses – even if your “percent productivity increase” between typing and editing goes through the ceiling.

3. “Percent productivity gained” is not the correct metric to use to measure the results of speech recognition. It is not the correct metric to use to determine MT compensation.

4. Your highest producing MTs are those most likely to see the lower productivity percent gains. But keeping your highest producing typists out of speech does not benefit you. It does not benefit the MT. It only benefits the speech recognition vendor who can now use your high percent gain claims in their marketing materials.

5. For a global workforce, do not compare productivity for MTs expected to reach quality sufficient to deliver to the customer to productivity for MTs who are expected only to produce quality sufficient to send to QA. Again, this number is only meaningful for speech recognition company marketing materials.

6. High productivity means nothing if utilization (how much of your total volume you are editing) is low.

7. Don’t engage in business practices that cause you to lose your best MTs. Without them, you’re just another commodity. Given a choice, would you pay more for electricity produced by one electric company than you would for electricity produced by another? Who cares about the electric company as long as the lights are on? You all know which companies(y) will survive if you all become the electric company.

8. Speech recognition will never be perfect. Never. No matter how well “the engine learns” and how many times MTs make every correction. If speech recognition could ever be perfect, there would be no more medical transcription.

9. It is incorrect to measure effectiveness of speech recognition by using a “word accuracy” score. A draft that is 100% word accurate can require a lot of editing. Ask any knowledgeable MT if she’d feel comfortable delivering a 100% word accurate document to a doctor and she’ll laugh at you.

10. Errors in final delivered documents are not the result of speech recognition. These are MT errors. Addressing quality problems by removing work from speech recognition is just, well, silly. If an MT doing typing from scratch delivers errors to your customer, do you remove the work from transcription?

11. Willingness to fulfill every individual preference for format and style is not a differentiation point for you. If your value proposition to your customers is providing custom formats for every doctor, you will lose them to the next company to offer the same at a lower price. Anyone can manipulate document format. Not everyone understands how to deliver valuable documentation.

12. You will not see the same results when speech recognition is kept invisible as you do when processes are changed to accommodate speech recognition. Do not pay your MTs the same line rates for these two scenarios. Do not charge your customers the same line rates for these two scenarios.

13. The “You get what you say” – “type what you hear” method of implementing speech recognition is not “standardization” or “optimization” for documentation. It is optimization for the speech recognition technology. It is the furthest thing there is from useful standards that will drive quality, compliance, and usability.

14. Know what your customer wants, know what you want to sell. Price accordingly. Pay MTs accordingly. Every other industry in the world understands this concept.

Here’s an example.

I love my Jetta. Having a Porsche would mean nothing to me – so a car dealer who sells nothing but Porsches will never get my business. And a car dealer who sells Jettas at Porsche prices will be out of business fast.

On the other hand, if I ever break down and buy that screamingly beautiful Plum Crazy purple Challenger SRT8 with the v8 hemi from the dealership down the street – the car dealer darn well better not deliver me a Jetta.

Sigh…..

-Lynn

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