Speech Recognition Class


Speech Recognition Class

Page 22

Speech Recognition Class

speech recognition requires some class at chattanooga state

Health information management (HIM) listserves are buzzing about it, software companies are marketing it and now schools are even teaching it. At least that’s the case at Chattanooga State Technical Community College, where enrollees in the HIM degree and medical transcription certificate programs are required to take speech recognition technology courses.

It all started in 1997 when R.N. Scalise, RHIT, CPHQ, program director and assistant professor of HIM, recognized the presence and viability of speech recognition technology in health care. “With the advent of continuous speech recognition, the emergence of more affordable robust engines, and increased computer speed and memories, speech recognition began improving,” recalled Scalise. “I felt it would be almost negligent on my part not to include some strong competencies in that area.”

By the spring of 1998, Scalise’s proposal to the college for a speech recognition requirement was approved, and today two classesÑboth an introductory course, as well as an in-depth technology applications labÑare required for an associate’s degree in HIM and for the medical transcription certificate. So how do the students feel about this?

“Our degree students are very open to taking the courses,” noted Scalise. On the other hand, “Our medical transcriptionists (MTs) are a mixed group. Some students don’t see why they need to take it and others are very excited about it.” But in the end, as she pointed out, “It has a positive impact on all students because their fear is diffused.”

According to Scalise, fear that speech recognition technology will replace the MT is unfounded. “Even if the technology becomes widely used, there will still be a role for MTs because most physicians are not interested in correcting their own material,” said Scalise, who believes that most students come away with this understanding after taking one of the three speech technology courses offered at the school.

In addition to a speech recognition basics course, there is a course that reviews the history of the technology, hardware compatibility, dictating, editing, and developing customized vocabularies, along with hands-on use of the software. Another more in-depth hands-on lab course is also available, and both the introduction and the lab courses have a distance learning option, as do all of the courses required for the medical transcription certification.

But if some students have apprehensions about the course, there are others outside of the program who have sought out these classes. “There is a need out there for speech recognition classes,” Scalise observed. “People are paying consultants and trainers $100+ an hour for training because several features of the software can be somewhat complicated.” Scalise’s classes take on some of these complexities, teaching students how to use the recording device and how to import voice files. “At the end of the course, we also introduce them to some enabling interface software that allows a user to use the speech engine more efficiently, reducing the number of steps it takes to accomplish certain tasks.”

Scalise is not aware of other schools that require specific courses on speech recognition, although familiarity with the software is becoming necessary. “I know that the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) requires approved institutions to include some kind of speech recognition content, although they’re not requiring actual hands-on activities like we have,” said Scalise. “Whether or not schools actually implement the software in a hands-on course remains to be seen, but I believe these programs will become more prevalent.”

  • For more information on the programs offered at Chattanooga State Technical Community College, visit www.cstcc.cc.tn.us/ or contact R.N. Scalise at rscalise@cstcc.cc.tn.us.

    Linda Gross is an editorial assistant with ADVANCE.

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