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Why Siri is Good for Radiology

I don’t own an iPhone 4S. However, I certainly don’t feel impoverished with my iPhone 4. Yet, I certainly can feel excitement for what the possibilities hold for the future now that Apple has seized upon voice recognition (VR) technology as a potential means to increase our efficiency in these hectic times. Their embrace of this technology solution is a very good thing for the future of radiologists, as they have shown the Midas touch with whatever area of technology they get their hands on.


Voice Recognition
Voice recognition came about while I was still a resident in the late 90s. I remember one of my colleague’s shock when he realized that voice recognition decreased his productivity by 20 percent and added two hours to his average workday. These were the early days, however, and voice recognition has continued to make strides and improve.


New VR Technology
With the advent of Siri, I wonder if there will be a new renaissance in the technology which may take it to the next level. The sheer popularity of the iPhone and any technology it encompasses are often game changers in the technology world and really change life as we know it. Apple has demonstrated this with iPad tablet, the invention of apps, FaceTime, and their superb retina display.


Pushing Technology Limits
The real potential for Siri and voice recognition technology is when the bleeding edge hackers and programmers begin to modify the technology and push it to its limits. An Australian was able to use it to program his home automation, while another genius uses it as a remote car starter, and yet another uses Siri as a method to control his television viewing. Now we are beginning to see a new level of creativity and genius with broad exposure to VR technology.


VR as a Radiologist Assistant
Since this technology has now been introduced to a much wider audience with Siri, I have huge hopes that someone is going to advance voice recognition to the next level. Already about 80 percent of radiologists use some sort of speech recognition in their work, according to a recent poll by Diagnostic Imaging magazine. The largest way radiologists have not been optimally using voice recognition is what Siri’s main raison d’etre is -- and that is as a digital assistant. Imagine not only dictating, but controlling the entire RIS/PACS workflow through voice command. It would give mouse clicks a break, at the very least. I can certainly envision myself one day making critical result calls, requesting prior studies, and getting consults merely through the power of my voice!


What other technology advances do you think Siri will prompt?

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