Dragon Medical Words and Vocabularies
In this guide to using Dragon® Medical Practice Edition 2, Nuance’s flagship speech recognition solution for healthcare documentation, we’re going to explore custom words and vocabularies. Specifically, we’ll review some of the related features included in Dragon Medical, as well as talk about how managing them properly can extend your recognition accuracy and expand your functionality.
As always, please take note of what edition and version of the software we’re discussing, as these tips may not apply in other instances. For example, Dragon Dictate Medical for Mac v4 differs so significantly from Dragon Medical Practice Edition 2 (for Windows) that it is advisable to treat them like different applications altogether.
Now, let’s get started.
When you create a Dragon Medical profile, there are several important choices to make—including one regarding vocabularies. To wit, at some point in the Profile Creation Wizard, you will be presented with a comprehensive list of medical specialties.
As you may have heard, Dragon Medical Practice Edition 2 includes over 90 medical vocabularies right out of the box. Selecting the appropriate specialty from the list will ensure that you have a vocabulary that contains the right terminology. This means less training and adding of words; but it also means that Dragon Medical is focused on the terms you are more likely to use.
The Right Vocabulary for You
That’s all pretty straightforward; but what do you do when you work (and chart) within multiple disciplines? You add multiple vocabularies, of course.
The philosophy behind this is pretty simple. If you need to document patients from both a neurology and a cardiology standpoint, you’re going to need vocabularies specific to each of those areas. This will ensure that the terms that Dragon Medical has to choose from are highly relevant, boosting your recognition accuracy.
The same principle applies for non-medical emails and documents. If you are trying to dictate everyday correspondence from a list of nephrology terms, you’re probably going to get poor recognition results. You need to add the “General” vocabulary for this to work properly.
Click here for instructions on both how to add a new vocabulary and to switch between vocabularies.
What Is the Language Model?
The language model is a statistical picture of how you put words together—which helps Dragon Medical make a decision in situations where more information is needed. Do make sure that the language model continues to learn from your speech by running accuracy tuning on a regular basis.
How Do I Add Words?
You will find, at some point, that you’ll need to add words to Dragon Medical—especially in the case of uncommon names. There are several ways of doing this, but like many users you may want to use the Add New Word or Phrase option from the DragonBar. Please keep in mind that although this appears to be an easy option for adding words, it is not recommended. Our elite dealer community has confirmed that although the word will be added to your vocabulary, it will not be trained and may cause additional challenges in the future. For those reasons, we recommend that you do not use the Add New Word or Phrase option from the DragonBar to customize your vocabulary. Below, you will find more effective methods for customizing your vocabulary.
If you have existing words that aren’t being recognized very well, you can train those words as well. Go to Vocabulary > Open Vocabulary Editor and find the word in question. Select it and click on the [Train] button on the right.
Keep in mind that adding words to one profile doesn’t mean those words will show up in another profile, unless you’ve shared them. Here are instructions to do that. Also remember that custom words added to one vocabulary don’t automatically transfer to the rest of the vocabularies attached to your profile. Of course, this only applies if you have multiple profiles and/or multiple vocabularies.
If you are using Dragon Medical on multiple computers, and you want your added words everywhere that you use the application, either create a roaming profile or export your custom words to the other computers. Otherwise, your words will only be available in the vocabulary and profile where you added them.
How Else Do I Add Words?
Learn From Specific Documents
You can have Dragon Medical look at documents you’ve already typed, in order to both add new words and update the language model. You should be careful with this, though—all new words from the documents you select will be added.
Learn From Sent Emails
Additionally, Dragon Medical is able to scan your sent email, which can help your accuracy in three ways:
1) Adds new words to your vocabulary
2) Adds contact names
3) Updates the language model
Nuance highly recommends not using this method for medical vocabularies, because it tends to cloud your specialty vocabulary with non-medical terms, reducing accuracy. Alternatively, if you have an account that you use strictly for medical correspondence, this might be a smart option for you.
This feature is currently only supported with these email clients:
• Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express
• Lotus Notes
• Windows Mail and Live Mail
To start an email scan, go to Vocabulary > Learn from sent e-mails on the DragonBar.
I Have a Word List
Perhaps you have a file full of terms that need to be included in your Dragon Medical vocabulary. It’s easy to add them in bulk, simply following the normal procedure to import custom words from another Dragon profile. The only thing that’s different here is that you have to put your word list into the right format.
1) Create a .txt file in Notepad.
2) At the top, copy and paste this exact text: @Version=Plato-UTF8
3) On a new line, print the word you want to add, including formatting.
4) Optional: If you need to add a spoken form to the word, indicate this by placing two backslashes after the word (on the same line).
5) Place each word you’re adding on a new line.
What About While I’m Dictating?
What do you do when you’re in the midst of documenting a patient encounter, and you need to dictate a word that Dragon Medical won’t recognize? You can say “Spell,” and then proceed to spell out the word. This works great for on-the-fly word recognition, but the word you spell will not be added to the vocabulary. It is only a one-time fix.
In light of that limitation, and considering that you may need to use a new word multiple times, here are some tips for quickly adding the word to your vocabulary:
• Dictate the word that you need to add. When Dragon Medical produces the wrong result, say “Spell that.” The Spelling Window will pop up, and you can spell or type the new word there. When you see that it’s correct, click [OK].
• Say the command “Add new word.” This will bring up the same window you see when following the procedure we mentioned earlier.
Even with misrecognitions, there’s still a strong chance that the word you are dictating is in the vocabulary you’ve selected. Because there are so many words to choose from, though, Dragon Medical sets aside a large chunk of that vocabulary in a backup repository.
When you make a correction to a word in that backup, we recommend that you allow the application to move that term to your active vocabulary, so that it immediately makes the correct form of that word available.
To enable this, go to Tools > Options > Correction from the DragonBar. Check the box next to “Automatically add words to the active vocabulary” and click [OK].
What Is the Vocabulary Editor?
If you navigate to Vocabulary > Open Vocabulary Editor, you’ll access the module that allows you to view, manage, train, and customize your words. This is the place to go for almost everything word-related.
The window defaults to display all of the words in your currently selected vocabulary, from A to Z. You should also notice that there are two columns: “Written form” and “Spoken form.” Let’s talk about what those mean.
Simply put, the written form is the exact manner in which, down to the last jot and tittle, the word should be displayed. The spoken form, if one exists, indicates what needs to be spoken to produce the written form. Although most of the words you’ll see don’t have a spoken form, Dragon Medical already knows how they’re pronounced.
So then, what’s the point of the spoken form?
- The spoken form allows you to represent the written form phonetically. This can come in handy for added words that Dragon Medical has no idea how to pronounce.
- Spoken forms can also help with the disambiguation of homophones. Giving sound-alikes different spoken forms helps the application make a distinction.
- You can employ spoken forms strategically. The classic example is using an acronym for the spoken form, and a spelled-out version in the written form.
Now that you understand the interplay between those two forms, some of the options in the Vocabulary Editor begin to make a little more sense. Find the “Display” drop-down menu at the bottom of the window and explore the following sections:
Words with spoken forms only
These are all of the words in your vocabulary that currently have spoken forms attached to them. Notice that the top of the list contains reserved words/commands that you’d use when dictating a note. These don’t have a written form because they don’t produce text; rather, they format your text.
Words containing punctuation
Here you’ll see what spoken forms to use to insert punctuation. While this is mostly just a helpful reference, you can add your own written/spoken forms for any punctuation mark.
Custom words only
This is a list of all of the words that Dragon Medical recognizes that you’ve added to this particular vocabulary.
There’s Even More
While we’ve covered the many of the major aspects of word and vocabulary management, there are still a few areas that we’ve left unexplored:
• There’s more that you can do in the Vocabulary Editor. If you select any word and then click the [Properties] button, you’ll see that you have control over how the word displays in context.
• There are a number of customizations you can make to common titles, medical abbreviations, measurements, addresses and more. Look under Tools > Auto-Formatting Options.
• Vocabularies can be shared between profiles. See here for instructions.
• The Data Distribution Tool, which is included with Dragon Medical Practice Edition 2, provides a method for sharing words and vocabularies across your network.