Electronic Health Record Interactions through Voice: A Review

Yaa A. Kumah-Crystal, Claude J. Pirtle, Harrison M. Whyte, Edward S. Goode, Shilo H. Anders, Christoph U. Lehmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Background Usability problems in the electronic health record (EHR) lead to workflow inefficiencies when navigating charts and entering or retrieving data using standard keyboard and mouse interfaces. Voice input technology has been used to overcome some of the challenges associated with conventional interfaces and continues to evolve as a promising way to interact with the EHR. Objective This article reviews the literature and evidence on voice input technology used to facilitate work in the EHR. It also reviews the benefits and challenges of implementation and use of voice technologies, and discusses emerging opportunities with voice assistant technology. Methods We performed a systematic review of the literature to identify articles that discuss the use of voice technology to facilitate health care work. We searched MEDLINE and the Google search engine to identify relevant articles. We evaluated articles that discussed the strengths and limitations of voice technology to facilitate health care work. Consumer articles from leading technology publications addressing emerging use of voice assistants were reviewed to ascertain functionalities in existing consumer applications. Results Using a MEDLINE search, we identified 683 articles that were reviewed for inclusion eligibility. The references of included articles were also reviewed. Sixty-one papers that discussed the use of voice tools in health care were included, of which 32 detailed the use of voice technologies in production environments. Articles were organized into three domains: Voice for (1) documentation, (2) commands, and (3) interactive response and navigation for patients. Of 31 articles that discussed usability attributes of consumer voice assistant technology, 12 were included in the review. Conclusion We highlight the successes and challenges of voice input technologies in health care and discuss opportunities to incorporate emerging voice assistant technologies used in the consumer domain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-552
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Clinical Informatics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • clinic documentation and communications
  • communication
  • human-computer interaction
  • natural language processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Information Management


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