While analog (cassette tape) recorders are still used in many professional industries , digital dictation devices are catching up in the community at lightning speed.  Just as you would no longer insert your 8-track tape into your car stereo, users of analog recording devices must move away from the outdated, insecure technology, or risk fading into obscurity along with it. In today’s word, there is no comparison of Analog vs Digital.

It amazes me when we receive a telephone call or e-mail from a customer looking for a cassette based device, or even worse, repairs to a broken unit.  Do these same people still strap a Sony Walkman onto their belt when they go to the gym?  Of course not, yet for some unknown reason, in the medical and legal fields, analog somehow clings to life.

Cassettes, by definition, are insecure.  Anybody with an applicable playback device can listen to your patient or client data.  There is no methodology of securing the voice files,  rendering them non-compliant with HIPAA, or any other state or federal privacy protection legislation.  Today’s digital devices can be locked via a secure PIN, the data can be encrypted, and the files sent via secure FTP, ( as opposed to the front seat of your transcriptionists car)

Another important aspect of data protection, is backup.  If a cassette is lost, the data is lost forever, and must be re-dictated.  When a digital voice file is downloaded, professional dictation software can be set to back up the voice file in a separate location, such as a server, or external hard drive. Should your computer suffer a catastrophic crash, your voice data is easily recoverable.

Let’s not forget sound quality.  How many times have you heard a typist complain of not being able to understand a dictation?  Tapes stretch over time, and through the process of recording and erasing, become almost inaudible.  Digital voice files sound as if the practitioner is in the room with the typist.  This, of course, leads to fewer errors, and much less frustration.

Want to increase efficiency even further?  Digital files recorded with a professional device are so true to life, they can be run directly through speech recognition software such as Nuance’s Dragon Medical, or Dragon Legal.  Try that with an analog recording and we can both have a good laugh at the results.  There is no way to compare analog vs digital.

Easily the most impressive thing about the new digital technology?-The cost.  That’s correct, with all of the features and benefits of digital vs. analog dictation, you would think there is a high price tag associated with the transition, and you would be wrong.

Today’s digital dictation machines cost roughly the same as their outdated analog counterparts, and generally do not require any maintenance contracts or expensive repairs.  Add to that the fact that you will never purchase a tape again, and you have a clear winner in security, efficiency, reliability, and price.  What are you waiting for?  Analog vs digital, the choice is obvious.