Digital Voice Recorders Replacing Transcriptionists

We’ve discussed before the voice recognition software Dragon NaturallySpeaking (Medical and Preferred) and the microphone options and even announced when Dragon NaturallySpeaking Medical first came available. It’s enough to say that we’re big fans of voice recognition software and Dragon NaturallySpeaking in particular. It’s a great companion to an EMR or EHR implementation.

Today, I came across the Sony Digital Voice Recorder with Dragon NaturallySpeaking Software and I wondered if any of my readers have used this before. It seems like it could be an interesting way to replace a transcriptionist.

Basically, the doctor would record his notes on this device and then the Dragon NaturallySpeaking software would convert it to text and could be easily placed in the EMR. For $150, that seems like a bargain.

Really, the only question is how good Dragon NaturallySpeaking is at converting the recorded voice into text. I imagine it’s at least as good as doing it in real time. Does anyone have experience with it? If I hear some good reviews, then I’ll add it to my list of EMR technologies. This seems like it could be a really good solution for that doctor that doesn’t want to give up his/her transcribing ways.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Some of my doctors use DNS for their dictations. They dictate directly into the EMR text blocks. I didn’t try the sony digital recorder but I did get the olympus DS-2 which is similar. The concept is as you said in that they record from wherever and then translate it into EMR. I thought my doctors would really like this but they really don’t. The biggest problem is that you have to train it more than when you are just using a microphone. But I did try it out. I didn’t train much and it was as good as the real time (which I didn’t train much either). None of my doctors want to take the time out to talk out those preestablished scripts into a digital recorder.

    Another issue I found is that the transfer from recorder to software was not as seamless as it is made out to be. Maybe we are using an older version. We have 9 and we use the professional version not the medical version. I found it cumbersome but it may be because I chose an Olympus recorder and had compatabilitiy problems with the player. I did get it working but I really don’t see any of my doctors going through those steps.

    Admittedly, since none of my doctors was jumping up and down to try this, I haven’t put it at the top of my bubble list of things to do.

  • We always get this question during EMR implementations and it ususally comes from the doc’s who don’t type well. The technology is close but it really only works for radiologist who have very quiet rooms and are willing to take the time to train the software. The real challenge is that in order to correct the errors you need to be computer savy so the very docs who want to use it are the least qualified to do so.

    Most people can type about 40 to 60 words a minute and talk about 300 so if they ever finally get it up and running it will help but not be a game changer. If however you could combine the speech recognition of goggle on my iphone with an EMR that would be sweet instead of laborious menus and templates.

  • I really appreciate the feedback from people in the trenches who really know.

    Seems like it’s a reasonable solution for someone who would rather carry a little recorder around instead of an entire laptop. However, someone who’d have trouble with regular Dragon NaturallySpeaking will probably still have problems with this.

    Makes sense to me.

    Anna, I did hear of one company trying to make an entire EMR on the iPhone. It was someone who planned to have no office and just do in home visits with her iPhone as the EMR. I didn’t remember her mentioning voice recognition. That would really take it to the next level and make it an even more viable option.

Click here to post a comment