Minimising administration in healthcare allows more time to tend for patients, and can have financial benefits too. It is with this goal in mind that Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust chose to implement voice recognition technology as part of their Achieving Together programme.
The name is an apt one, as it was in partnership with Nuance and Cerner that the Trust was able to utilise Nuance’s proven Dragon Medical One speech recognition system within Cerner’s Millennium® electronic health record (EHR).
As a result, clinicians are now able to capture their outpatient consultations as they are said, enabling letters to be created from what is said at the time, without having to repeat it all after the event.
“Why Dragon and cloud? We wanted a product that was tried and tested and being used within the UK already, and one that would definitely work with Cerner Millennium.”
- Paul Adams, head of clinical information systems, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
A 95 percent-plus level of accuracy and the ability to utilise automatic text for frequent phrases means that clinicians and patients can be confident that the letters will be accurate, therefore boosting safety.
Previously, clinical notes would need to be transcribed externally, but by utilising speech recognition, Homerton was able to cut a 17-day turnaround to a 2.2-day one, providing a better experience for both clinicians and patients, and achieving their KPI target of sending letters out within five days.
The change has also had notable financial benefits, as it’s impacted on the writing of 35,000 letters per month. Homerton has now been able to cut the medical secretariat budget by a third, in addition to spending £180,000 per year less on outsourced transcription costs.
Despite the technical innovation, this was a clinical project for Homerton, not an IT one. With board support and an engaged clinical leadership, the focus was on identifying current workflows and transforming them into more efficient ones, with technology as a tool rather than an end goal.
This involved piloting the solution across numerous specialties to ensure as many needs a possible were catered for, and the provision of training and support for all users to ensure they were able to optimise usage.
The Trust is considering the future too, with other services that use transcription – such as acute, paediatrics and sexual health services – being considered for future voice recognition rollouts, as well as extending functionality by increasing the use of auto-text macros to increase efficiency for users.
“Having a positive relationship with your supplier, with ideas being shared back and forth, is key.”
- Katherine Adams, transformation manager, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust