AI Scribes vs. Dictation for SOAP Notes

The adoption of technology in veterinary medicine is evolving, with tools designed to streamline administrative tasks and enhance patient care. Among these advancements, AI scribes and traditional dictation software have emerged as significant aids for veterinarians. This blog compares these two technologies, highlighting their impact on veterinary practices.

Traditional Dictation Software

Traditional dictation software converts speech into text, allowing veterinarians to verbalize notes, reports, and medical records. It's a step up from manual typing but comes with limitations:

  • Accuracy: Depending on the software, it may struggle with complex medical terminology or accents, requiring manual corrections.
  • Integration: Traditional systems often operate independently of practice management software, necessitating extra steps to incorporate dictated notes into patient records.
  • Functionality: Primarily focused on transcription, these tools offer little beyond converting speech to text, leaving the organization and analysis of data up to the veterinarian.

Human scribes

Traditionally at hospitals, there are human scribes available to doctors to help with notetaking. These scribes physically sit inside of the consult room to listen. In some cases, the scribes might be remote and connect in through phone. Human scribes are trained in medical literature to understand everything being said and summarize the information. This is the biggest advantage of human scribes. Some limitations of human scribes include:

  • Cost: Not every clinic or hospital can afford to pay 10’s of thousands of dollars a year for a human scribe to sit in. Even remote services tend to be expensive given the need for human labor.
  • Availability: Human scribes are available during business hours, but are not always available during emergency hours, leaving doctors without help when they might need it the most.

AI Scribes

AI scribes represent a leap forward, leveraging artificial intelligence to not only transcribe but understand and organize information within the correct context. They offer several advantages over traditional dictation:

  • Contextual Understanding: AI scribes are trained on medical terminologies and can contextualize information, placing it appropriately within a patient's medical records.
  • Integration: These systems are designed to integrate seamlessly with practice management software, automatically updating patient records without additional steps.
  • Efficiency: By accurately capturing and organizing information, AI scribes reduce the time veterinarians spend on administrative tasks, allowing more time for patient care.
  • Adaptability: AI scribes learn from corrections and adapt to individual users' voices and terminologies, improving accuracy over time.

Comparing the Impact on Veterinary Practice

Time Management

AI scribes offer a significant improvement in time management for veterinarians. By reducing the need for manual data entry and corrections, veterinarians can allocate more time to direct animal care and consultations, enhancing the quality of service and patient outcomes.

Accuracy and Reliability

While traditional dictation software provides a baseline level of accuracy, AI scribes excel by understanding context, reducing errors, and improving the reliability of medical records. This accuracy is crucial for effective treatment planning and follow-up care.

User Experience

The learning curve for traditional dictation software can be steep, with users often needing to adapt their speech patterns for better accuracy. AI scribes, however, offer a more intuitive experience, adapting to the veterinarian's natural speech and improving efficiency.

Future-Proofing Practices

Investing in AI scribes can be seen as future-proofing veterinary practices. As technology advances, the integration capabilities and learning algorithms of AI scribes will continue to evolve, offering long-term benefits in efficiency and patient care quality.


The choice between AI scribes and traditional dictation software in veterinary practices boils down to the balance between immediate needs and future goals. While traditional dictation software may offer a quick fix for converting speech to text, AI scribes provide a comprehensive solution that enhances the efficiency, accuracy, and quality of veterinary care. As veterinary practices continue to embrace technological advancements, AI scribes stand out as a transformative tool, enabling veterinarians to focus on what they do best: caring for their animal patients.

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