Voice recognition in EMR; so 2005 or still relevant?

"Our current fellow impressed w/ colleague using voice recognition; OMG I STOPPED using that 3 yrs ago and EMR generates letters w/o it!" was what I tweeted last week. Now, let's explore this topic in greater detail.

I have experimented with several voice recognition packages over the years. I was using Kurzweil Voice when released around 1994 and kept upgrading over the years to Lernout & Hauspie's then Dragon Naturally Speaking' professional medical editions. In December 1996 I even wrote an opinion piece on technology in the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology predicting a day we would have lapel microphones to dictate the exam findings as we go and have the latest evidence based medicine recommendations pop-up in a browser as we dictate our assessment and plan. I won't tackle the other points in this article but will talk about voice recognition.

"Dr X uses voice recognition to dictate the consult report, you should see it Dr Schertzer!" our glaucoma fellow told me last week. Well, I did voice recognition from 1996-2005 and was happy to let it R.I.P. in favour of the EMR being able to generate the consult reports automatically from the data already entered in the patiet encounter. In fact, Dr X was one of our residents before he came on faculty and learned about the voice recognition from working with me back then. Yes, voice recognition does work well but why make more work for yourself by repeating information already contained in the chart?

Is there still a role for voice recognition in a consultant's medical practice? I look forward to your comments on how you are using voice recognition in an Electronic Medical Record environment.