WiSPER puts data on forms

IMC officials have developed a system that not only converts speech to text but also automatically carries out much of the back-end processing needed to prepare captured data so it can be easily searched or used for medical or legal forms.

A newly formed IMC subsidiary called WiSPER Technologies has been formed to market the technology globally. It will be headed by George Newstrom, Virginia's former secretary of technology and a former EDS executive, and a longtime member of IMC's board.

Sudhakar Shenoy, chairman and chief executive officer of IMC, said the new WiSPER system is particularly useful in the medical, legal and other professions in which jargon makes it difficult for more commercial products to convert the speech easily to useful text.

The WiSPER product, which uses industry-specific dictionaries developed by IMC, can convert the speech to text with almost 100 percent accuracy, Shenoy said.

As an example of its use, he said studies show that doctors write down less than 5 percent of their conversations with patients during surgery visits. IMC's technology allows the whole conversation to be captured, and the doctor can search it later for any relevant information.

It also has applications in battlefield emergencies, Shenoy said.

"When a soldier is injured, the medic treating him often has no time to record what the treatment was," he said. "With the WiSPER technology, he can just speak into a [personal digital assistant] and then have the information automatically transmitted wirelessly to a central location."

The information can also be automatically converted into a format that is readily available for such things as insurance or Medicare/Medicaid billing.

The WiSPER system will soon go into extensive pilot tests at government and commercial organizations, Shenoy said, although he wouldn't reveal which ones.

The system will probably be formally introduced as a commercial product within six to nine months, he said.

Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.net.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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