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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Talking to a Computer Makes Getting X-Ray Results Quicker and Easier at Houston VA

April 25, 2005

Talking to a Computer Makes Getting X-Ray Results
Quicker and Easier at Houston VA

April 25, 2005

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MEDVAMC Staff Radiologist, Barbara Costin-Maisel, M.D., dictates x-ray results into Talk Technology.

Photo by: Fran Burke

HOUSTON - Remember when you waited days to learn the results of your X-rays? New technology at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) now enables radiologists to quickly record medical test results without the time-consuming hassles of dictating and transcribing.

“Talk Technology is a digital dictation and speech recognition system that allows radiologists to dictate, transcribe, review, and approve radiology reports online. Voice recognition makes the process of transmitting diagnostic imaging results more efficient and timely. Health care providers receive results faster and are able to make prompt therapeutic decisions for their patients here at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center,” said Meena Vij, M.D., Diagnostic and Therapeutic Care Line executive.

As a radiologist works at a diagnostic workstation viewing digital X-ray images using the Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) and dictates into a small microphone, the computer converts the spoken words into text on the screen.

“With the digital images available for review on the PACS monitors, the radiologist logs into ‘Talk Technology’ on a separate monitor, with a secure password, to begin the next phase, that of reporting the results.” said Vij.

The radiologist can immediately read, review, and approve the radiology results electronically. Since the ‘Talk Technology’ system is interfaced with VistA, the VA’s internal computer system that supports day-to-day operations, results are available within seconds through the MEDVAMC Computerized Patient Record System to all health care providers involved in a patient’s care. Compared to the days of misplaced or lost paper reports, this system has made a substantial impact on patient care timeliness and safety.

The MEDVAMC began using this cutting-edge voice recognition technology in 1992. By 1995, manual transcription of medical results was completely eliminated in the facility’s Radiology Section. The technology has continued to improve over the years. ‘Talk Technology’ is the third generation of voice recognition used by the MEDVAMC. This version offers radiologists a highly desirable, complete workflow solution for reading and reporting results.

“This technology has enabled us get medical results to our health care providers faster; therefore, substantially increasing the quality and safety of medical care our veterans receive,” said Vij.