Electronic Health Records

Adoption & Implementation News

Virtualization, speech recognition to grow aggressively

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

- Healthcare organizations and providers will be looking to virtualization solutions and natural language processing (NLP) applications and drive accelerated growth in these areas, according to HIMSS Analytics. The research wing of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) revealed new data in an announcement for its latest edition of health IT market report.

These latest figures from HIMSS Analytics appear to support findings last month that the health IT market for EHR and EMR systems is cooling. The ambulatory EHR market is more than three-quarters saturated and expected to grow by less than a dozen percentage points in the coming year.

Both virtualization and NLP technology are expected to exceed a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20-percent with virtualization edging out dictation with speech recognition by a handful of percentage point.

“The support applications profiled in this report can be categorized as standard business tools with an already high market penetration, so it’s great to see that such advanced technologies like virtualization software and dictation with speech recognition are emerging as top support services with high growth potential,” HIMSS Analytics Senior Director of Research Jennifer Horowitz said in a public statement.

For NLP developers in the health IT industry, the growth is not surprising. “The data is pretty consistent that providers spend upwards of 50 percent of their day doing things around documentation and data,” says Maureen Ladouceur, VP of Clinical Operations for VoiceFirst by Honeywell, a company attempting to break into a space dominated by the likes of Nuance and M*Modal.

“We will see more and more dominance with regard to voice,” she explains. “Voice will leapfrog keystroke-based applications over the next three to five years. That will become one of the primary preferences amongst providers.”

The challenge for developers of these technologies and services will be differentiation — showing how one approach differs from the next.

“The major challenge we’re going to have is working to help the market understand how our design, development, and deployment of voice differ from things that are more dominant in the market,” Ladouceur continues. “A lot of people are going to have a stereotype in their mind when they hear voice, and it’s going to be our challenge to help people understand how we do it differently and what it means to them.”

Ultimately, those likely to come out on the right side of things will be those companies that both cater to the individual needs of providers and “bring them back to the bedside.”

“Providers are very individual in terms of what works for them,” says Ladouceur. “Some people are more auditory; some are more visual. Solutions that can mirror multiple capabilities are going to be the preferred solutions moving forward.”

While signs point to increased interest and investment in virtualization and dictation with speech recognition, they do not indicate what form these technologies will take as well as what shape innovation will assume.

Read an executive of the HIMSS Analytics report here.

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