Initial evaluation of a continuous speech recognition program for radiology

K. M. Kanal, N. J. Hangiandreou, A. M.G. Sykes, H. E. Eklund, P. A. Araoz, J. A. Leon, B. J. Erickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The aims of this work were to measure the accuracy of one continuous speech recognition product and dependence on the speaker's gender and status as a native or nonnative English speaker, and evaluate the product's potential for routine use in transcribing radiology reports. IBM MedSpeak/Radiology software, version 1.1 was evaluated by 6 speakers. Two were nonnative English speakers, and 3 were men. Each speaker dictated a set of 12 reports. The reports included neurologic and body imaging examinations performed with 6 different modalities. The dictated and original report texts were compared, and error rates for overall, significant, and subtle significant errors were computed. Error rate dependence on modality, native English speaker status, and gender were evaluated by performing t tests. The overall error rate was 10.3 ± 3.3%. No difference in accuracy between men and women was found; however, significant differences were seen for overall and significant errors when comparing native and nonnative English speakers (P = .009 and P = .008, respectively). The speech recognition software is approximately 90% accurate, and while practical implementation issues (rather than accuracy) currently limit routine use of this product throughout a radiology practice, application in niche areas such as the emergency room currently is being pursued. This methodology provides a convennient way to compare the initial accuracy of different speech recognition products, and changes in accuracy over time, in a detailed and sensitive manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-37
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Digital Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2001


  • Computers
  • Continuous speech recognition
  • Radiology transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Science Applications


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