Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust is using speech recognition software to free up clinicians’ time and to relieve them of growing administrative burdens.
The Trust has deployed software by Nuance Communications in a move to improve working practices for staff enabling them to focus more of their time on patients. The software acts as a tool to help reduce clinical documentation workloads, support remote working and eliminate any backlogs associated with detailed patient records.
The software is being used in replacement of older, analogue dictation workflows and should allow healthcare staff to spend more time focusing on patient care.
Previously, the Trust’s large volume of clinical documentation was heavily impacting employees’ working hours and their work-life balance.
Karen Edwards, occupation therapist (OT) at the Trust explains: “The mountain of admin became oppressive to the point I just didn’t want to do the job anymore. Then we deployed Dragon Medical speech recognition and I caught up with a backlog of two years’ worth of clinical records in just three weeks.”
The deployment follows the Trust being granted Global Digital Exemplar funding to invest in digital and technology solutions. The GDE funding application was led by the Trust’s IT director, David Brown, who said: “The Dragon Medical deployment has marked many positive improvements for our clinicians, including significantly enhancing workforce productivity and mobility.
“The move to clinical speech recognition has transformed our clinical documentation strategy – freeing up clinicians and even providing secure access to patient records on the go. We hope that other Trusts can learn from this process, ensuring patients and staff alike can benefit from more timely, accurate and efficient patient records.”
Speech recognition software has been shown to produce positive outcomes for NHS Trusts. A Nuance-commissioned study at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s emergency department found that compared to typing, speech recognition software helped staff save three minutes for every patient, the equivalent of the department gaining almost two-full time clinicians.
Dr Simon Wallace, chief clinical information officer, Nuance, said: “Against a multitude of challenges – from budget constraints to an ageing population – the NHS’ dedicated healthcare professionals work to deliver world-class patient services.
“However, our health system still needs to improve clinical documentation processes to underpin better patient care – an example set by Worcester with this latest announcement. Digital clinical documentation is vitally important in tracking any patient’s journey, but more patients means more patient records. Intelligent systems that help clinicians naturally document care – so they can focus on patients – are essential to optimise clinical and financial outcomes and are set to make significant impact in the industry.”