Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Talk to the Pen

Almost three years ago I wrote about the NextPen from NextGen using Anoto technology. At the NextGen User Group Meeting (UGM) in Las Vegas they have announced the launch of the new NextPen Voice which is designed to help providers stay more engaged with patients while streamlining and speeding detailed patient data capture. It looks to be a promising enhancement to the NextPen solution.

NextPen Voice intermixes handwriting and drawing just like before, and now can incorporate dictation. “Providers don’t need to return to their desks to complete the patient narrative,” said Roy Feague, VP of Development at NextGen Healthcare. “They just double-tap NextPen Voice in the field of a patient encounter form where they’d like to locate the narrative and speak right into the pen. The transcribed result is returned into the correct field automatically.”

NextPen Voice gives you a choice between written and voice input, depending upon clinical examination protocols, preferences and specialties. Providers using NextPen Voice can easily switch between voice dictation and handwriting during patient encounters, with just a simple double tap. Like the original NextPen Write, NextPen Voice utilizes the same miniature camera technology for its handwriting capture mode. In writing mode, the pen tracks its position on a paper form and records every stroke. Handwriting and drawings are recognized immediately and are flowed into the patient chart as structured data. The provider’s dictation captured by NextPen Voice is automatically routed for transcription, returned, and once approved by the provider with a simple click, is automatically flowed into the patient’s chart as narrative text.


“NextPen Solutions can easily save providers 10 to 15 minutes per new patient, especially during reception-area intake,” Feague noted. “As a result, many clients report saving two hours per day. Our new NextPen Voice digital pen adds dictation to NextPen’s proven track record of writing and drawing capture so providers have the ultimate digital pen solution to improve productivity and cut costs while simultaneously improving the patient experience.”

The NextPen Voice currently requires dictation services, but eventually we should see speech recognition technology incorporated into the offering. This would take it to the next level in terms of usability and functionality. I'll be watching this product offering to see how well it is adopted and what improvements are in the pipeline. My hope is that we can eventually get healthcare to a place where all of this unstructured data we are capturing and be put into discreet fields, but at least for now we can make this as natural as possible. Everyone knows how to use a pen, and now you can talk to it too :-)

“In the past year, our clients have experienced the most rapid change the healthcare market has witnessed to date,” said Mike Lovett, executive vice president and general manager, NextGen Healthcare. “Our expanded NextPen Solutions platform, including our new model, NextPen Voice, is another example of how we’re growing an innovative ancillary product suite that offers integrated functionality into our EHR and practice management systems. NextPen Solutions provide our clients with an important tool to keep winning the everyday challenge to combine productivity, accuracy and care in the practice of medicine.”