Shopping for a dictation microphone can be a bit confusing. There are tons of options, features and styles out there; finding the right combination is challenging. But it’s definitely possible. This handy guide provided by Olympus will help you sort your options!
So what makes a good dictation microphone? How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Where do you even start? We’re here to help.
Step 1: Determine Your Use Case
First things first: What do you want to do with your dictation microphone? If you’re in the market for a device that interfaces in real time with speech recognition software and/or an EHR/EMR system, you’re in the right place. For our purposes here, “dictation microphones” are devices without internal storage that are used in relatively close proximity to a computer or laptop. They’re meant to efficiently and clearly turn spoken words into actionable data.
If you need a mobile dictation solution (i.e., a portable device with internal memory for storing recordings) you’re not looking for a dictation microphone. Those are digital voice recorders, like the Olympus DS-7000.
Step 2: Think About Security
Whether you’re at a hospital, a law firm, a government office or a business, keeping sensitive information safe and out of the wrong hands is a big deal. When you’re considering a dictation microphone, be sure to consider:
- Individual user profiles, which can be used to tell who did what with a device, when
- Device PIN locking, to keep unauthorized users from utilizing the dictation microphone
- Real-time 128- or 256-bit file encryption capabilities
These features alone won’t ensure the integrity of your files, but they’ll certainly add an extra layer of security on top of whatever your IT staff already has in place.
Step 3: Make it Clear
What do you do with a dictation microphone? Dictate, of course! Unfortunately, dictations are no good to anyone – the recorder, a transcriptionist or your speech recognition software – if they’re not crisp, clear and easily understood.
Problem is, we haven’t yet seen a hospital or law firm with an in-house recording studio. Dictation microphones are used in the real world – with its buzzing fluorescent lights, office chatter, waiting room TVs and noisy traffic. To compensate, you need to make sure whatever dictation microphone you choose comes equipped with a professional quality microphone, rather than the kind of tinny mic you’d find on a webcam or headset. Even better, some dictation microphones allow for adjustable recording sensitivity, allowing the user to modify mic settings based on their environment.
Step 4: Customize It
Security? Check. Clear recording? Check. Now, think about how your dictation microphone will function outside just “press record, speak, stop.” Do you need customizable controls? A trackball, allowing you to scroll or tab through fields in EHR/EMR software? Barcode scanning capabilities? Slide switch controls? Push button operation?
Whatever you need, there’s probably a dictation microphone out there that has it. Olympus’ RecMic DR-2300, for instance, offers barcode scanner compatibility. The RecMic DR-2200 gives users a precise slide switch and four programmable function buttons. The RecMic DR-1200 has the same programmable functions, but swaps the slide switch out for simple “record” and “play/pause” buttons.
Step 5: Get Dictating
Once you’ve decided on the feature set you want, you need to ensure that your dictation microphone will be easy to deploy within your IT ecosystem. After all, the best device in the world is no good if you can’t actually use it. Make sure whatever dictation microphone you choose:
- Integrates out of the box with leading speech recognition (and EHR/EMR, if necessary) software suites
- Offers plug and play operation via a standard USB cord
- Includes device configuration software for administrations and a software development kit for IT users