Published by: 10th July 2017at
The government’s aim is to ensure that the NHS will provide a fully digital health and social care records system by 2020. This challenging agenda is driven by the increased workload on health care workers, but also by the proven time savings that going digital repays its users.
Benefits of digitalisation
An enormous amount of health professionals’ time is still taken up with paperwork. The nature of the process of consultation, notation and transcription means that there is always going to be paperwork involved with UK health care. But the government firmly believes that digitisation will reduce file duplication, speed up information sharing and make it easier for data location. The aim of a ‘Paperless NHS’ is to save doctors and patients time, build patient engagement and strengthen doctor-patient relationships, as well as to improve clinical outcomes. Another advantage is to save on storage requirements, which is becoming an increasingly expensive logistical issue for all areas of the NHS, where space is at a premium.
SpeechWrite Digital, a digital dictation business, which specialises in voice recognition technologies, commissioned a survey, to discover UK health professionals’ attitudes to going paperless and to what degree digital technology had impacted their workplace and working methods. The research was carried out to build up a picture of the attitudes and problems the NHS is facing in its drive to increase its digital platforms and technological usage. At the same time, it also highlighted the challenges and barriers to the widespread adoption of such technologies in a busy working environment.
83% of practices increased overall practice efficiency using Voice Recognition
Approximately half of respondents said their practices had implemented the use of digital dictation technology. One of the key findings was that among those health professionals who had already adopted digital dictation or voice recognition technology, 44% thought the system made it easier to locate data. 26% replied that the new system allowed more time for patient-facing tasks, 44% were convinced that it reduced the duplication of work and 30% that it improved clinical outcomes. But by far the largest percentage was that 83% thought the software increased the overall practice efficiency.
The survey also revealed that 88% of practices surveyed were not currently using voice recognition software in any capacity, though some respondents were very interested in the solution and had looked into implementing it.
Those who have upgraded have experienced improved efficiency by adopting voice recognition. The latest edition of VR software has a built-in vocabulary that is specific to medical terminology and the microphones are fitted with a hygiene-friendly antimicrobial surface, which is ideal for the clinical environment.
Integration with medical records systems
The new system integrates with existing databases, enabling medical centres to maximise the capability of both their existing electronic patient records (EPR) system and their digital dictation software. Patient information – including patient profile, date of birth, IDs and system properties – can be imported directly from the records system and embedded into the dictation document. This level of integration has eliminated errors and delivered proven time savings. There are also no security concerns or questions of confidentiality, as the software provides full encryption and secure file transfer.
Medical voice recognition allows clinicians to relay a patient’s care narrative verbally, and have it transcribed directly into the Electronic Health Record. SpeechWrite solutions allow doctors to speak directly into the patient record, recognising medical language, vocabulary and converting the dictated narrative into formatted text output.
Emma Ball, Head of Marketing at SpeechWrite Digital, is encouraged by what the survey has discovered: “The fact that practices where voice recognition technology and digital dictation software has been deployed are noticing some big improvements is very positive for us. There’s no better way to demonstrate the tangible benefits of SpeechWrite’s solutions in action than to hear from people who have used it in their everyday lives and these findings should encourage other health care professionals to look at their work practices and think seriously about upgrading their procedures.”