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J Digit Imaging. 2008 Dec;21(4):384-9.

Voice recognition dictation: radiologist as transcriptionist.

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Department of Diagnostic Imaging, The Warren Alpert School of Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.


Continuous voice recognition dictation systems for radiology reporting provide a viable alternative to conventional transcription services with the promise of shorter report turnaround times and increased cost savings. While these benefits may be realized in academic institutions, it is unclear how voice recognition dictation impacts the private practice radiologist who is now faced with the additional task of transcription. In this article, we compare conventional transcription services with a commercially available voice recognition system with the following results: 1) Reports dictated with voice recognition took 50% longer to dictate despite being 24% shorter than those conventionally transcribed, 2) There were 5.1 errors per case, and 90% of all voice recognition dictations contained errors prior to report signoff while 10% of transcribed reports contained errors. 3). After signoff, 35% of VR reports still had errors. Additionally, cost savings using voice recognition systems in non-academic settings may not be realized. Based on average radiologist and transcription salaries, the additional time spent dictating with voice recognition costs an additional $6.10 per case or $76,250.00 yearly. The opportunity costs may be higher. Informally surveyed, all radiologists expressed dissatisfaction with voice recognition with feelings of frustration, and increased fatigue. In summary, in non-academic settings, utilizing radiologists as transcriptionists results in more error ridden radiology reports and increased costs compared with conventional transcription services.

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