Sep 13 2019

Review: Dragon Medical Practice Edition for EHR Systems | HealthTech

The voice-recognition software is specifically designed for medical professionals and the EHRs they use.

One of the most profound changes in the healthcare field is the introduction of electronic health record systems. Initially seen as a way to digitize patient charts and records, EHRs have also vastly increased the amount of information collected — a challenge and an opportunity for busy clinicians.

The Dragon Medical Practice Edition, part of the Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software, can help users streamline workflows within an EHR. Like with other versions of the dictation software, it allows users to speak instead of typing out notes, forms and other reports. 

The version tested here is optimized for healthcare and boasts 90 specific medical vocabulary sets. As such, the software responded accurately to spoken medical terms such as “acetylsalicylic acid,” “pulmonary edema,” “cardiomyopathy,” and many other words not commonly used in everyday speech (and ones that are not part of other Dragon programs).

Due to strict privacy laws, including HIPAA, that protect patient data and assign stiff penalties for breaches, Dragon has ensured that data collected by the software is secure. Everything spoken into the program is automatically encrypted and remains that way throughout the dictation process and resulting transfer into the EHR.

MORE FROM HEALTHTECH: What will HIPAA-compliant voice assistants mean for providers?

Program Offers Users Speed and Clarity

The program is highly efficient and autonomous. It’s designed to install on a local workstation or even a Windows 10 tablet and works without the need for an internet connection. It also evaluates the hardware that is driving it and configures itself for maximum efficiency. 

Compared to previous experiences with Dragon software, the new program’s speech training times have been vastly reduced. It takes less than a minute for the software to become fully familiar with voice and speech patterns.

As clinicians face greater demands and time constraints, Dragon Medical Practice Edition can speed up the paperwork process. Those time savings can be valuable, offering more face time with patients and colleagues to help provide the best care possible. 

Dragon Medical Practice Edition description

Dragon’s Software Works with EHR Systems

The Dragon Medical Practice Edition of the Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software is designed to help doctors and other clinicians get patient records completed more quickly

But it’s also designed to work directly within electronic health record systems, which are being installed in hospitals and facilities of all sizes across the country. An EHR implementation can take years; training and efficient adoption among users also often takes time.

This is why the Dragon Medical Practice Edition can be a valuable complement

In addition to knowing medical terms and syntax, the software is designed to allow spoken data to drop directly into EHR fields and forms, or even directly into the main EHR itself. I tested this using a sample EHR network used to showcase the system for interested healthcare officials. The network is used by some of the country’s largest hospitals. 

Connecting to the sample EHR was easy. The Dragon Medical Practice Edition made navigation simple by filling in and moving between EHR fields on command, saving at least several minutes on each record compared with standard typing and clicking. The process saved even more time if I needed to add a detailed explanation to the fictitious patient’s chart, although typical data points such as temperature and blood pressure also were entered more efficiently when spoken.

READ MORE: How to get the most out of your EHR implementation.

Voice Recognition Software for Doctors Saves Valuable Time

Dragon Medical Practice Edition even allowed me to input commonly entered datasets into forms with a single command. For example, if doctors have to provide their names, facility location and identification number on every form, they can instead record that data with Dragon and tie it to a command such as “add personal stamp.” 

From that point forward, Dragon will drop that information into a form, or directly into the EHR, using all the right fields on command. This also eliminates the possibility of errors or typos.

The company estimates that an average user can save about 30 minutes a day with Dragon Medical Practice Edition. This could vary depending on the doctor, the EHR and the complexity of each diagnosis. But in my testing, 30 minutes is a solid estimate, and many clinicians with heavy workloads will probably save even more time.


  • Speech Recognition Accuracy: 99%, right out of the box
  • Specialty Medical Vocabularies: 90
  • Typical Training Time: 60 seconds
  • Average Time Saved: 30 minutes daily
  • Required OS: All Windows systems
  • Number of Users: 4 (one per box in multipack)
Pornpak Khunatorn/Getty Images

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