Work-related tasks that home health clinicians struggle with the most are essentially one struggle with many symptoms: accurate documentation, submitted in a timely fashion, with as little time taken away from family as possible.
All of this comes down to how well their point-of-care software is designed. Typing takes time and results in errors. Taking pencil notes and transferring them to a computer doubles data entry time. Rushing through any of these tasks causes brief, less accurate, incomplete assessments and notes, which too often results in payment denials.
Tech companies have been struggling right along with these valiant, compassionate, over-worked clinicians for years, trying to find the balance between enforcing compliance and supporting nurse and therapist job satisfaction. One solution that has been tried off and on over the years is voice-to-text technology. Clinicians can speak their observations and verbally describe tasks completed, and their phone or tablet does the rest. Though previous attempts did not catch on, probably due to early century hardware limitations, there is a totally different starting point today.
With today's faster processors and massive internal memory caches in both phones and tablets, voice-to-text is finally able to recognize most speakers and to produce transcriptions accurate enough for professional clinical applications. This week, we met a company that has taken advantage of those technology advances and is already showing success in post-acute care. We spoke with Jason Banks, late of CellTrak, Netsmart, AccentCare, and Seasons Hospice, and now Senior Director of Post-Acute Care Sales at nVoq Incorporated.
"We see good clinicians leaving the profession because they didn't like their point-of-care software's documentation requirements," Banks began. "Look at the tremendous documentation burden home health clinicians have. There are about 100 Hospital Conditions of Participation. Post-acute has over 300. Clinicians must type narratives for every visit, a lengthy task, but also the area where the clinician can personalize what the patient is doing. We have increased their speed and, as a consequence, they are documenting more."
He told us that the nVoq voice-to-text system works on Windows PCs and Android tablets and phones, using the device's own microphone. "Training takes about five minutes," he said. "We simply replace the Android or Google keyboard and microphone button with our own, and clinicians perform their documentation as they always have. It records the spoken word as text within the clinician's own Electronic Medical Record, and we can interface with most of them."
He added that nurses are theoretically done with their day when they are done with their visit. The office-based QA nurse immediately has the field clinician's text in front of her.
Asked about dialects and accents that have confounded previous voice systems, Banks told us, "nVoq analyzes speech patterns in real time. The software can learn multiple versions of English, including accents from Asian to the deep South. Our algorithms are constantly working to improve on that."
Among early adopters that have already begun to report job satisfaction are the nurses and therapists of Amedisys and Kindred. Dr. Amy Moss, Senior Vice President, Clinical Operations Hospice at Amedisys, said:
"We are focused on employee engagement, giving our clinicians the tools that allow them to gain efficiencies, have work-life balance, and enable them to provide the best patient care. Part of the challenge of introducing any new tool or technology is the potential impact it may have on your clinicians. You have to balance any potential short-term pain with the anticipated return on that investment. In the case of nVoq.MobileVoice, we knew many of our clinicians wanted to use speech recognition with PointCare on the Android tablet, but a lot of them had never used this kind of technology before, so we weren't quite sure what to expect. It turned out that nVoq.MobileVoice was really easy to use because it was designed to work seamlessly with PointCare and the Samsung tablet experience – reducing the learning curve. Our clinicians are reducing documentation time and improving the quality of their patient notes. We are leveraging our existing technology investments and extending how we better enable our clinicians. It is a real game changer for our team."
nVoq was founded by 20-year healthcare entrepreneur Charles Corfield, who remains the company's sole owner today. He was able to start nVoq without outside investors after having sold his third company, the digital layout company, Frames, to Adobe. Banks describes him as a 61-year-old marathoner who is both kind and generous.
After completing his master's degree and beginning work on a Ph.D. at Cambridge University in the late 80's, Corfield became frustrated with the technology available, so he developed his own word processor. After that success, he began to look for other problems to be solved.
Seeing that speech recognition systems were not cloud-based, he again developed one of his own, and it eventually gained several hospital clients. About two years ago, Banks told us, the company began to get interest from large home care companies, looking for a solution to the workforce shortage.
©2021 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Home Care Technology: The Rowan Report. homecaretechreport.com One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only. firstname.lastname@example.org