We have previously written about the new iPad® in the blog posts titled, iPad® 3 Release Rumors — Don’t Get Rid of Your iPad 2® Just yet and The New iPad®… Just Call it iPad® — Rumors Confirmed and Debunked. In this post we will delve into the new iPad’s dictation feature, and detail its benefits for MediTouch® users.

At HealthFusion® we believe our MediTouch users will benefit most from the new iPad’s dictation feature, although the enhanced retina display and improved 4G internet connection speeds are also useful advancements.

New iPad 3 Dictation Feature

Doctors have been using dictation for years; for the keyboard challenged, talking is far easier and less time-consuming than typing. It is difficult to argue that the addition of dictation to the already popular iPad would be an instant improvement — assuming the transcription is accurate. We put the new iPad dictation system to the test, and we concluded that the dictation software works well, especially given its infancy. I am even dictating this blog post on the new iPad, with only a few, minor edits needed post production.

The dictation feature on the iPhone 4S® is extremely similar to that of the new iPad, however Siri® integration is lacking. The complex tasks and conversation-like interactions of Siri are unavailable, but dictation is integrated into the Safari® browser and across the iOS operating system. So if you want to get a feel for the dictation capabilities on the new iPad, try dictating to Siri on the iPhone 4S.

Just as with the iPhone 4S, complex words and some medical terminology are not easily transcribed. At HealthFusion, we recommend our MediTouch users speak in short, staccato phrases when using the new iPad’s dictation feature. Thanks to MediTouch’s structured notation method, based on the SOAP note system, input fields are brief, usually only requiring one or two short phrases rather than long explications. With the structured notation method of the MediTouch system, there is far less chance of exposing sensitive patient health information (PHI) during iPad dictation.

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New iPad 3 Dictation Disable Prompt

We caution our MediTouch users against dictating any PHI, since the use of the new iPad’s dictation feature requires accepting the obligatory Apple® user agreement that allows Apple to store any data collected during dictation. Since the dictation feature is routed through Apple servers, and only available with an Internet connection, anything dictated can potentially be stored in perpetuity on Apple’s servers. We do not believe Apple has some diabolical plan to mine your data like some nebulous, free EHR vendors, but we would still caution MediTouch users from including any PHI during dictation.

The new iPad’s dictation feature is not a replacement for Nuance’s® Dragon Dictate®, but we believe it is the best dictation alternative for users that do not want to use a laptop or desktop in the patient exam room, and like the freedom and portability of a touch tablet. We recommend MediTouch users adopt the new iPad and its free dictation feature rather than paying hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for Dragon Dictate. Since Apple has licensed their technology from Nuance for Siri and the new dictation feature, we hope it is not too long before the iPad can handle more of Dragon’s repertoire of medical terminology.

You may have heard or read reports on the new iPad concerning the usual issues and complaints surrounding the release of any new electronic device, especially one with the cult-like following of Apple. Some new iPad users have claimed issues such as overheating, limited battery charging, and now, intermittent Wi-Fi connections. To Apple’s credit, as usual, they were quick to address the issues and offer answers and solutions. Consumer Reports® recently commented that they believe that the overheating issue is immaterial, and they recommend the new iPad. At HealthFusion, we have not noticed any issues with the new iPad, and our MediTouch users have not made us aware of any either.

The new iPad’s enhanced retina display and fast, 4G internet connection capabilities, combined with the new dictation feature make it the ideal EHR tablet for MediTouch users. So give talking a try, and dictate directly into MediTouch on the new iPad!

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