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Stanford and Google Team Up on Digital Scribe Pilot Project

November 22, 2017
by Heather Landi
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For physicians and clinicians, electronic health record (EHR) usability and the time spent box-checking and on data entry are oft-cited sources of frustration and stress. In fact, a Mayo Clinic study linked EHRs with physician burnout.

Some healthcare providers have turned to the use of human scribes to enter information into the EHRs, allowing physicians to concentrate on patients, rather than the computer. Stanford Medicine and Google Research have launched a pilot project to study the use of a digital-scribe to replace a human scribe in order to save the physician time on data entry and improve physician-patient interaction.

The digital-scribe system uses speech recognition technology and machine learning tools to automatically enter the information from the office visit into an EHR system, according to a Stanford Scope blog post describing the pilot project.

Steven Lin, M.D., medical director of Stanford Family Medicine, is working with Google Research on the nine-month-long pilot study in which all nine doctors at the Stanford family medicine clinic will use the system. Clinic patients will have the option of participating.

According to the blog post, the doctors will wear a microphone and record the visit. Team members will then use machine learning algorithms to detect patterns from the audio recordings that can be used to automatically complete a progress note.

The pilot study will identify challenges and indicate whether a digital-scribe is feasible, Lin said.

According to the blog post, Lin said the goal is to develop a tool that can be used broadly.


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