The Fastest Way to Dictate – A Comparison

In this article, we’ll compare the most common dictation methods – Manual Entry, Transcription, Back-end Speech Recognition, and Speech-to-Text – to determine which is the fastest way to dictate. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, but what matters most is finding the dictation method that best suits you.

Medical Dictation Methods

Manual Entry

Manual entry is likely the slowest dictation method – any documentation that is not completed directly after (or during) a patient visit needs to be voice recorded or hand-written and completed later in the day. This can lead to a pileup of documentation at the end of each day, keeping a physician from going home until their work is complete. This can also be a source of inaccuracy in documentation, as it relies solely on the physician to meet with a patient, record their own notes, then enter the notes into the EHR or other health software.

Manual entry is especially slow as it relies on a physician’s typing speed. Some physicians may have a higher word-per-minute (wpm) average typing speed than others, but it’s highly unlikely that a physician has an equivalent or higher text wpm as a transcriptionist, considering the role requires professional training in typing.

On the other hand, manual data entry is the method that allows a physician the most control in completing documentation. Any information included in the documentation comes directly from the physician. While there may be another party responsible for reviewing the documentation, some physicians find it more practical or reliable to complete their own documentation with this method.


Transcription is a very common, reliable method of recording dictations and completing documentation. This method involves a certified transcriptionist who listens to a recorded dictation, then transcribes that dictation. A transcriptionist can enter text directly into the EHR or other medical software (such as medical transcription software), then pass back to the physician or another party for final review and signing of the documentation.

Medical transcription software assists in the organization of voice recordings. Transcriptionists will use this transcription software to easily access files and associate them with the correct patient, make transcriptions, and send the transcribed text through to another party for review or directly into the EHR.

One complication with transcription is that requires a dedicated transcription staff; an occupation that has seen a decline in recent years. Transcriptionists, beyond just the medical field, are in short supply. Certified medical transcriptionists are even harder to come by.

Back-end Speech Recognition

Another way to complete documentation is back-end speech recognition. Back-end speech recognition is when a dictation goes through speech recognition, then transcriptionists edit that speech recognized text. After a dictation is recorded, it is then interpreted by back-end speech recognition technology. Then, a medical transcriptionist will edit the recognized text to fix any errors.

This method relies on the speed and accuracy of speech recognition but with the added expertise of a medical transcriptionist to ensure the documentation remains error-free. The transcriptionist is also able to work directly with the physician that initially recorded the dictation to clarify any unclear or missing information.

Front-end Speech Recognition

Front-end speech recognition utilizes speech recognition software to immediately recognize a physician’s dictation, then populate recognized text into an EHR, word processor, or other medical software. This method allows for potentially the quickest turnaround time of all dictation methods, as it involves only the physician and the speech recognition occurs nearly instantaneously.

Front-end speech recognition is only as good as the speech recognition software being used, however. Any software with lower speed or accuracy can require additional rounds of review before signing off on documentation.

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Front-end speech recognition can be performed with a dictation microphone – or with mobile dictation software.

What is the fastest documentation method?

Front-end speech recognition can nearly instantaneously translate a voice dictation into recognized text – even those that type quickly can’t compete with automated speech recognition in words-per-minute. This means the average dictation speed with speech recognition is higher than other dictation methods.

However, speech recognition may not be the right dictation method for every physician. The fastest dictation method will differ from physician to physician. Finding the dictation method that works best for an individual physician is the key to faster turnaround time for documentation.

If speech recognition is the right solution for you – the most accurate, customizable solution available is Fusion Narrate. Fusion Narrate is a cloud-based speech recognition solution that can be utilized with any healthcare software for a more efficient workflow.

Posted by Brian Gaysunas

Marketing Manager

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