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Speech Recognition Doesn't Have to be a Pain in the Gross Room

Gross roomNo two days in a gross room are the same. I experienced this first hand as a technician before I came to work at Voicebrook. Maybe, like me, you are a biopsy technician and receive the surprise eCC that takes 30 cassettes to entirely submit, or maybe you are PA and receive the surprise derm frozen that requires all hands on deck. No matter your role, you never know what curveballs the day has in store for you.

As you deal with these complexities that keep every day interesting, the rest of the system does not slow down to wait for you. Surgeries continue as normal, clinics continue submitting biopsies, and cases pile up. Even though these events can disrupt your ‘usual’ workflow in the lab, not everything needs to change. The way you complete your reports can remain a consistent and simple part of the otherwise dynamic and unpredictable puzzle of a day in the lab. A properly tailored speech recognition solution can play a vital role in optimizing your workflow in the gross room.

Speech Recognition Can Make Life More Complicated

That may seem like a strange heading, especially since I just said speech recognition can help in the gross room. Hear me out. If your lab is looking at a speech recognition solution, you might be thinking, “How will this affect my workflow? I’ve heard some stories…” We've heard these stories, too. Without the right tools, speech recognition can add an extra source of stress in the gross room.

For instance, while your lab as a whole is enjoying the benefits of speech to text (like faster turnaround time and greater accuracy), you might begin to notice that you have more to manage than before. Instead of simply dictating an entire case onto a tape and handing it off to be transcribed (one of the largest sources of reporting errors), you are now in charge of entering the correct information into the appropriate section of the AP system with the proper formatting. Grossing a case and using a keyboard and mouse do not go hand in hand, but you could find yourself spending a lot of time and energy on your computer to complete your reports.

It Doesn't Have to be This Way

On the other hand, speech recognition can have enormous benefits in the gross room, with one condition – it must be optimized for your lab.

The best speech recognition optimizations will include pathology-specific features such as:

  • Full integration with your AP system
  • Templates containing the majority of the report information, formatted to your lab's specifications
  • Smart behaviors in templates to remove steps and simplify reporting
    • Default text
    • Automatic population of duplicate fields
    • Automatic calculations for fields such as ischemic time
    • Automatic changes to static text and the cassette summary section based on inputs
    • Field validations to ensure inputs fall within an expected range
  • Hands-free navigation, command, and control of the AP system
  • Additional vocabulary for pathology and for your site (such as naming conventions)
  • Self-learning speech profiles
  • Customized workflow automation

Some of the most basic features listed above can be built for off-the-shelf speech recognition software, but it is time intensive and requires someone within your organization who knows how to build and support them. The more complicated features such as the smart behaviors within templates require a specialized solution.


With a solution optimized for pathology, implementing speech recognition in your gross room doesn't have to be a horror story. When your solution is tailored to your laboratory, you can fly through your day, focusing on your work instead of your tech, barely touching your mouse at all. I even used voice commands to get online and order a sandwich one particularly busy day.

If you'd like to learn more about how an optimized speech recognition solution can simplify your workflow, let us know!

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