How doctors are using the Apple Watch to ease transcription woes

Notable's voice-powered assistant was developed to help curb the time doctors spend on charting.
By Laura Lovett
02:45 pm

Over the last five years we’ve seen Apple Watch progressively move into the healthcare space. For the most part the tech has been a vessel for consumers to find out insights about their bodies. However, as was referenced during Apple’s September 2020 keynote address, its use case has rapidly expanded, and the company has worked with startups to include provider-facing tools. 

In fact, Notable, an "intelligent experience automation platform", works on the Apple Watch to address a very specific provider pain point — charting. The software was designed to cut down on administrative tasks, in particular providers can dictate into their watch and capture notes and charting.

“The watch was very intuitive, provided all day battery life and actually works, especially in this touchless environment where people don’t want to be sharing computers given this environment. … You want to have more of a BYOD approach, so the provider can feel safe using their own interface that is intuitive, natural and touchless. The wrist works great for that,” Pranay Kapadia, cofounder and CEO of Notable, told MobiHealthNews.

The Notable system has been working on the watch for two years. However, it is adding features as the watch system evolves. 

“With the new operating system one of the capabilities we got to work with [Apple] on and their API was new complications that are dynamic and interactive,” Kapadia said. “So, we’ve been working with them on how can we help providers know what their schedule looks like at a glance in a touchless environment so they don’t have to go back to a computer and see at a glance what information they need about the next patient they have coming in —whether they are on track or behind and then follow through on care.”

While the technology continues to progress, doctors have already been using the tool to help with time consuming charting. 

“I use it almost every day. When I don’t have a lot of patients and have a slow day, I don’t tend to use it, but when I do have a lot of patients during the day it saves me a lot of time as far as dictation is concerned,” Leonardo Taarea, a physician at Houston Methodist, told MobiHealthNews.

“To put it in perspective, a new patient note would take me five to eight minutes to dictate on Dragon. And on Notable, what I find is I’m dictating a full note in three minutes. What I do after a process is upload them to a template and then I sign off on it. So, it saves me a good bit of time when it comes to dictation and charting.”

The technology offers some more advanced features like capturing information during a patient visits and sending orders. Taarea said he primarily continues to use the platform for dictation, but knows others on his team use it to send orders and to check scheduling. 

While dictation tools such as this cut down on the charting time, there is a process time to get the notes into the EHR. 

“The biggest thing is always going to be the processing time,” he said. “If I have a half day then I tend not to use it, because I finish it right then and there and don’t have to wait 40 minutes for it to export to EPIC.”

For Taarea the process has evolved as the software learns his voice and dictation habits. 

“The dictation software for me at least I’ve noticed a big improvement on figuring out words I’m saying. In the beginning I had to go over my dictations and change a few words because it wasn’t understanding what I was saying but more recently the dictation software has started learning what I was trying to say and improved it.” 

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