Recent news headlines have covered the increased need for behavioral health treatment due to isolation, job loss and the anxiety associated with Covid-19. As a therapist, you may have seen your appointments increase, and you were already booked solid before! Finding time to both work with clients and properly document your encounters is more important than ever. Cloud speech recognition is a helpful tool well worth the minimal time investment and financial cost. The eight reasons below explain how speech-to-text benefits the community of therapists, counselors and social workers.

1. Time Savings with Speech-to-Text

You can talk 3 to 4 times faster than you can type. Typing your progress notes, treatment plans and initial assessments takes precious time away from you and your clients. With speech recognition technology, you will free up your workday and reduce those evening hours spent documenting the day’s appointments. The accuracy of medical grade speech recognition products today is amazing; way beyond what older speech recognition products delivered. Less typing and less editing is more time savings. In the words of one clinician, “It has cut my paperwork time in half…”

2. Notes are More Thorough

Dictating your encounters allows you to convey your clients’ statements, thoughts and concerns and to communicate your impressions, diagnoses and treatment in detail. There is the possibility of forgetting or excluding meaningful elements when creating your notes longhand or by typing in EHR text boxes. With today’s collaborative care model, the added specificity in your notes will be useful for your clients’ primary care providers and for yourself in the future. Clinician J.T. offers, “My colleagues and I are thrilled! It has proven to be much more efficient and accurate than traditional typing, and I love the ability to document in greater detail in less time”

3. Transition is Easy; No IT Expertise is Needed

Learning how to operate the latest speech-to-text software has never been easier! If dictation and speech recognition are new for you, don’t let your initial hesitancy delay the efficiency gains. Verbalizing your thoughts will become second nature before you know it. Many speech products include pause and rewind functionality which behave just like the backspace and undo on a keyboard.

Speech-to-text programs are quick and intuitive, with new users comfortable documenting in record time. Today’s cloud speech recognition is nothing like the frustrating desktop versions you may have tried in the past. With cloud speech-to-text there is no license key or desktop software to install, so set up time is minimal. Plus, your user ID follows you from your office PC, your smartphone, secondary offices and even your home PC without a hassle.

4. It’s Less Tiresome

The documentation process is not described as an invigorating activity or the reason why you became a therapist. Burnout among healthcare professionals is becoming commonplace, even alarming in many specialties. Speech recognition can significantly reduce the stress caused by handwriting or typing notes. You’ll spend a greater percentage of your workday in the areas that bring the most job satisfaction: counseling, collaborating with peers and educating when less time is spent creating notes.

5. Speech Products Can be Mobile

One strategy to provide the best client care is to document the appointment immediately after the session. This can be a challenge for social workers and traveling clinicians. Speech products connected to a mobile app enable traveling therapists and social workers to produce a note right after the appointment and to utilize small amounts of time while out and about without a PC. Just narrate your note while the impressions are fresh in your mind; if needed, wait until later to proof and sign off on your smartphone, tablet or PC.

6. Speech Technology Works with and without EHRs

If your EHR does not have a companion speech option, there are available cloud speech products designed for behavioral health and medical professionals that work inside your EHR without integration or interfacing projects. In other words, your dictated voice is translated into draft text wherever the cursor is located as you watch-instantly. Simply edit as you narrate, click to the next text box and your note is done.

For those practitioners not using an EHR, some speech applications bundle speech technology with note repository products and provide Internet access to notes, secure cloud storage, HIPAA enablement, eSignature and printing automation. Much more efficient than filing handwritten or typed notes in a paper chart.

7. PHI is Protected with Professional Speech Recognition

There is plenty of justified concern today about giant tech corporations such as Apple, Amazon and Google listening to conversations, voice files and shopping lists with Siri and Alexa programs. Health professionals are taking a risk when trusting client PHI to general purpose speech products. Instead, professional speech products include protections for your notes and clients. All client metadata, the audio files and the resulting text files are all secured and encrypted. The companies selling true medical speech products have incorporated HIPAA enablement and event logging. Plus, Business Associate Agreements govern the access to your audio. The content belongs to you and will not be sold to advertisers or for other purposes. Can we say the same for the big tech retailers?

8. Speech Contributes to Higher Earnings

The time you save with speech-to-text easily provides for an extra appointment each work day. The monthly cost for speech technology is less than the fee you charge for a single session. Combined, the low fee and additional appointment availability increases earnings and improves your work life experience!