Real time searching offers suggestions to finish the words being typed by the user or displays the results while the user is typing. It can improve the user experience by reducing the number of keystrokes a user has to make and to help reassure them that the system 'understands' their intentions.

Conventional text searches require the user to decide how many words to enter and then explicitly request a search. When a search fails to find any matches or returns a very long list of matches, the user is obliged to repeat the process. The need to undertake this type of user interaction for every coded entry is likely to create a significant disincentive to effective data entry.

While auto-completion may generally be a useful technique, it may not be useful for data entry at or near the point of care as it may be distracting to the user and could potentially slow down the clinical documenting. It also requires the user to pay close attention to ensure that the auto-completed phrase is the one that the user intended to capture.