In this digital age and being in the world of dictation and speech recognition for so long, we have to remind ourselves that a lot of Trusts and hospitals are still using analogue tapes and don’t have a digital system to keep track of their documents at all. Letters and notes are printed, manually signed and stored in case notes. This of course can be a very long and laborious process. Let alone what this means for the safety and security of patient information and the clinical risk that this can pose. When a patient visits a clinic, the physical case note needs to be retrieved from the archive and sent to the consultant.
This can mean delays in consultation and additional, unnecessary manual work. Making the jump from analogue can be a scary thing to do and something that medical secretaries, which have been in their roles for a long time – can be very sceptical of.
So given our experience in the field, what would our top tips be for a smooth transition to making the move from analogue tapes to digital dictation and speech to text…
1. Communication is key
Communication is the most important thing when considering change. It’s important to be transparent about plans and be clear about where and when these changes are likely to be taking place. Those communications must help sell the benefits of the change – we’re doing this for a good reason ‘to allow more time for patient care, to help with the paperless NHS initiative or to meet turnaround times’. Any ambiguity between these reasons can make people nervous, feeling threatened and cause unnecessary worry or concern.
Communicate about how speech to text solutions are being used in other hospitals and Trusts and the real benefits the software can bring to both the medical secretary and the clinician.
2. Don’t forget to benchmark
Be that taking photos of the piles of case notes in the hallway, measuring your cost savings and/or keeping track of the difference in turnaround times. It’s important to have these differences noted to help build momentum and support for your project, be that at Board/senior level or on a local/frontline level.
But please note: whether change is driven primarily by cost or quality affects how far people buy into it. Change driven by the need for cost savings or efficiency has less natural pull than change driven by the desire to provide better patient care.
3. Do not underestimate the importance of training
Learning something new in work or life can be daunting and carries with it a number of challenges. The process can be overwhelming, confusing and lengthy – all reasons to resist change! But as we all know perseverance prevails! In the end the benefits gained far outweighs the ‘glitches’ along the way.
Our trainers are all equipped with a wealth of experience and have first-hand understanding of the NHS and its systems. It’s important that training is not just a few minutes with a colleague, who struggled through somehow and knows a little about the technology. A comprehensive training schedule is required with follow up support sessions for those that need it.
4. Use our expertise
Be that our integration experts, application consultants, project managers and/or training consultants – our employees have a huge amount of speech recognition, digital dictation and workflow management software experience! Use the resource that is available to you.
5. Take advantage of our reporting tool
G2 Analytics provides you with insight into: backlogs, department turnaround times and employee performance. This enables you to see within a few clicks where people are struggling and might need support with using the new speech to text software. It also helps to identify any department bottlenecks. Use this information to identify areas for improvement.