For the first 4 years of my practice as a nurse practitioner, I did all my charting through typing. I didn’t mind this because I’ve always thought of myself as a decently fast typist (69 words per minute isn’t terrible, right?).
Why use a dictation device
It wasn’t until I was introduced to Dragon, a dictation and speech-to-text software tool that completely changed my life (when it comes to charting, that is). I had no idea how much time I was wasting by typing all my notes by hand.
You might think you’re a fast typist but nothing, and I mean nothing, is faster than speaking. Charting is one of the most time-consuming aspects of our day. Using a tool to speed this up is game changing!
Your organization may not utilize Dragon (or other comparable speech-to-text software). If that’s the case, I recommend asking your employer if they will consider purchasing it. If your employer won’t purchase Dragon, I recommend you pay for it yourself. Dragon is so incredibly efficient and makes charting so much less painful; it’s a worthy investment.
After using Dragon for a week, I found myself wondering how I ever made it 4 years as an NP without using this incredible tool. What makes dictation tools so powerful is that it learns your speech, your articulations, and it autocorrects over time. It understands medical terms and learns your speaking pattern the more you use it.
You still want to review your notes when using Dragon or any dictation device, but it’s so incredibly efficient. I want every healthcare provider to know and use dictation tools!
How it works
Dragon is software that can be installed on any computer. You have a login and password. You then plug in your microphone (or use the built-in microphone on your computer) and that’s it. You click the green microphone on the screen, and it will turn green prompting you to speak.
Dictation tools are incredibly easy to learn to use and are an incredibly efficient way to chart.
Other dictation devices
I haven’t used any other dictation devices out there so I can’t speak to them, but I imagine they are all pretty comparable. Regardless of which one you use, the takeaway is that if you want to chart more efficiently, you NEED to be using dictation.
I had previously heard of physicians using this software but had never used it myself. In fact, it was a podiatrist who showed me this software and states he has been using it for years and would never consider charting any other way. I’m not sure why more providers don’t use it, but you absolutely need to look into using dictation.
Don’t wait the 4 years I did to add so much ease to your life!!
You can thank me later
Side note: I have no affiliates with Dragon or other dictation devices (i.e., M*Modal dictation). Again, likely any similar software will work! Happy charting!