With the help of Spectrum Health Innovations, an emergency medicine doctor is on the brink of saving a lot of his colleagues worldwide a heck of a lot of time.

Jeremiah Johns, MD, who works in the emergency department at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital and Zeeland Community Hospital, invented the ED Voice Commands system, a series of dictation templates that can be used with existing dictation software to speed up the process of entering electronic medical records.

Dr. Johns approached the Innovations team with his idea and, after about a year in production, the project is complete. He recently went live with his website www.edvoicecommands.com

His idea could save emergency department doctors from repetitive work.

For example, if a patient comes in with a severe cut on his arm, following the standard procedures of assessing the patient, irrigating the wound and sewing it up, doctors would have to sit down and dictate the entire procedure.

“When I’m done, I have to make a record of what we did,” Dr. Johns said. “Instead of having to dictate the entire procedure, which usually consists of something we do every time, such as irrigation and closing with a certain type of suture, I just have to say a few words and it types out the procedure.”

Built into the program he devised is an area where he can click and choose variables, such as the wound size.

The innovation also works for more critical visits.

“If someone is not breathing and has to have a tube placed down their throat, there’s an extensive procedure note and it’s virtually the same every time,” Dr. Johns said. “I just have to say a few words and change the variables.”

The templates are a big time saver.

“It speeds up the chart completion by quite a bit,” he said. “It frequently saves 30 seconds to a minute, multiple times a day. It easily saves me 10 to 15 minutes a day and probably three or four hours a month. It makes a difference. It’s that much less time I have to spend at the end of my shift.”

Dr. Johns said more than a year ago he searched the internet looking for software that could speed up the chart process. His search turned up empty.

So he decided to create something.

He knew about the Spectrum Health Innovations team and how they help employees and budding health care inventors see a project through to reality.

“I’ve been involved with Innovations in the past with a couple of other things,” Dr. Johns said. “When I had this idea I contacted them to help me make it a reality. They really help with the whole process.”

That includes working through legal ramifications, intellectual property policies, startup resources and web design.

“It’s been really good,” he said. “It’s really important work. I’m a doctor just trying to continue my work. To bring something like this to fruition on my own without ever having done that would be pretty difficult.”

Scott Daigger, manager of Innovations and Entrepreneurship at Spectrum Health, said the ED Voice Command project is a win-win-win for Innovations, Dr. Johns and the medical community.

“A part of our role at Innovations is being kind of a liason,” Daigger said. “His templates are easier and more efficient to use than what’s already available. For us, it was a no-brainer. It was pretty easy to make some connections and help him out.”

Daigger said many Spectrum Health professionals have great ideas, but lack the time or know-how to see them through.

“Launching any new project takes a lot of time and effort,” Daigger said. “Everyone is busy with full-time jobs here. Trying to find someone to champion these ideas can be a challenge, so with Dr. John’s willingness to drive this product idea through his own new company, that removes a lot of barriers. This is a win for everyone.”