According to a study in the October 2011 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology, breast imaging reports generated using an automatic speech recognition (ASR) system are nearly six times more likely to contain major errors than those generated with conventional dictation transcription. The study reviewed 615 reports of complex cases discussed on multidisciplinary team rounds: 308 reports generated with automatic speech recognition and 307 reports generated with conventional dictation transcription.

“Our study found that at least one major error was found in 23% of ASR reports compared to 4% of conventional dictation transcription reports,” said Anabel Scaranelo, MD, University Health Network in Toronto, Canada. Major errors were described as those errors that had an impact on the understanding of the report and errors affecting patient management, such as an incorrect unit of measurement (for example, millimeter instead of centimeter) or a missing or added “no” (for example, malignancy instead of no malignancy).

The error rate was even higher if breast MRI reports were looked at separately, said Scaranelo. The major error rate was 35% for ASR reports and 7% for conventional reports, she said. “We think this is because MRI reports are more complex, with more description,” Scaranelo said.