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Home > Health
 
Voice recognition system to reduce medical errors

Asma Ali Zain / 16 January 2013

A new voice recognition system is helping doctors in Ministry of Health hospitals dictate prescriptions and take diagnostic notes, thereby reducing medical errors and saving time.

Doctors issue voice commands through a microphone attached to a computer and use the system to ‘write’ prescriptions, take medical notes or make detailed reports which were either being hand-written or typed out until now.

Almost similar to Apple’s voice recognition iOS system Siri, the ministry’s software has been localised to easily translate regional Arabic and English accents into a typed format. Besides, the system also has a wide database of medical terminology and abbreviations that are picked up as the doctors speak.

“The system has an accuracy of 98.9 per cent,” said Mohammed Al Doy, Wareed Project Manager at the Ministry of Health.

He said that the system not only saves time and reduces medical errors caused by illegible handwritings and poor communication, but also issues alerts on medicine usage, allergies and dosage details among a number of other features.

“Doctors however have the authority to overwrite the alerts based on their medical knowledge and knowhow,” he added.

The new audio communication method is part of the ministry’s health information system, Wareed, that was launched in 2008 and is being used in 14 hospitals and two clinics all over the emirates.

At present, the voice recognition system has been launched 
in five hospitals including Al 
Qasimi, Al Kuwaiti, Al Baraha, Al Dhaid and Al Kalba.

“The pilot project was launched in Sharjah’s Al Qasimi hospital in July 2012 and is now being expanded to other hospitals,” said Mohammed.

Dr Santosh Mathew, Senior Consultant and Head of Cardiology Department at Al Qasimi Hospital, said the system was very useful: “It saves a lot of time and helps us take diagnostic notes in a shorter time,” he said.

But there are no shortcuts in the profession, he said: “We still have to cross-check that whatever we have dictated has been typed in correctly, else we will be held responsible for any error.”

The system will next be applied in Dibba and Masafi hospitals.

asmaalizain@khaleejtimes.com

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