The Bulletin

Swiftkey introduces autocorrect for doctors

Posting in Science

Bad medical notes are estimated to kill 7,000 people in the U.S annually

A replacement keyboard that was created to make it easier to type on Android devices has evolved into an autocorrect application that promises to help doctors take more accurate notes (apparently they don't type well either).

SwiftKey, the top-selling Android app last year, replaces the OS's keyboard and adds predictive text that allows users to type faster with fewer errors. This was accomplished through a computer science technique called natural language processing, which can be configured for specialized use cases such as medical practices and home health care. That same technology is now being used out in the field by clinicians.

Recently, SwiftKey partnered with a U.S. home health care company called Bayada, which sought to eliminate inaccuracies in physicians' notes and improve their productivity. Bayada deployed a specialized edition of SwiftKey that takes into account a physician's practice and its related medical context when suggesting or correcting text, said SwiftKey chief marketing officer Joe Braidwood.

It's in essence, autocorrect for doctors. Doctors are typing notes 47 percent faster with SwiftKey and don't have to go home to "tidy up" their notes at the end of the day, Braidwood said. It also led to longer, better quality notes, and eliminated bad practices such as the cutting and pasting of potential errors, he added.

Errors in medical notes are a big deal. In 2007, the National Academies of Science's Institute of Medicine estimated that doctors' sloppy notes killed more than 7,000 and injured more than 1.5 million people in the U.S. annually. Mobile apps that can make a difference literally become a lifesaver.

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— By on February 5, 2013, 2:25 PM PST

David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure