Top 5 steps to successfully implementing dictation into pathology

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Posted 20th June 2016 by Gemma Sandford

By Bas Jansen, CTO

As the market leader for pathology departments, with 93% of the market share in Holland, we know a thing or two about how they operate and how to improve processes to increase productivity. Many laboratories are now implementing new technologies for digital imaging and specimen examination. Labs are investing in scanners for digitising glass slides and are moving towards that paperless or paper-light goal. We’re even noting our first sites adopting the use of structured reporting in pathology. 

The main aim being: to facilitate high quality diagnostics and reporting and to create a new age of digital pathology.
There are several key areas in which speech enabling your pathology department can help you:

1. Increased productivity enabling you to spend time on other pressing tasks

2. Quick, simple, hands-free and accurate reporting

3. Reduction in costs for typing and outsourcing

4. Turnaround reports and documents within 24 hours

5. Enabling you to go paperless!

Already considering introducing speech to text workflow management in your lab? Below you will find our top 5 steps for introducing a successful digital workflow solution in pathology:

1. Create a workflow distinction between cut-up and micro

Anyone who has ever visited a pathology lab and inspected the workflow appreciates the difference between the cut-up and the micro part of the workflow. If your dictation system doesn’t make a distinction between the two processes, you are not able to get the most out of your workflow and you won’t be able to work in a very efficient way.
In general, the cut-up is a bit of a messy environment. Users are wearing rubber gloves, using easy to clean keyboards etc. The dictation process is completely geared towards a traditional back-end dictation workflow, whereby the recognition takes place on the server and correction is handled by a secretary.
The micro on the other hand is a very clean working place. Users can utilise digital dictation, front-end or back-end recognition, whatever your preference is, either opt to check and make any changes yourself or send on to admin support. From this environment it is much easier and could be more efficient to check your recognition results and choose to finalise the report yourself, immediately.

2. Utilise automatic category selection to save more time

One of the advanced features, that is extremely popular, is the automatic recognition of categories in text. This enables users to refer to specific sections in the report and the speech recognition system will recognise these categories and split sections of text accordingly, before sending to the lab system. The categories can be created specific to your lab-system and are then recognised and categorised accordingly. Examples include sections such as: macro, micro, conclusion, addendum, rectification, follow up, etc.

3. Select specific hardware for hands-free working

In both the cut-up and the micro phase there is a clear requirement for hands-free working. The micro phase has the simplest solutions – using a mouse to finalise a document, or to click a button to initiate the scanning of a barcode can be simply enabled using a headset and a 3-button foot control in combination with a barcode scanner.
For cut-up though, hardware gets a little trickier…typically a barcode scanner is used to scan which triggers the creation of a new report, and instead of using a 3-button foot control, a 4-button foot control is utilised. This enables the pathologist or medical scientist to finalise a document with a click on the control and there’s no need for a keyboard or mouse. In case of using front-end speech recognition, we advise not to perform any correction at that point in the workflow, but to send the report to a secretary for correction, or to queue in a separate list where the user can pick up later and check the report. This is the most efficient and effective way of working for the user to concentrate on the job at hand.

4. Make sure you have an integration with lab system!

It sounds like an obvious point but an integration with a lab system is a must! For the most efficient way of working, in order to make use of the advanced features of an information system, an integration with your lab-system is required. This ensures that all reports are transferred and archived against the correct tissue identifiers -automatically. No manual intervention is required.

5. Flexible workflow for junior staff or admin support

The requirement for a flexible workflow is something we regularly come across. When utilising admin support for checking documentations, the pathologist/medical secretary will need to review and approve reports before sending to the lab system. In a teaching environment pathologists may wish to go through reports created by junior staff before they are uploaded to the lab system. The option is there to do the review process together with the student/junior member of staff and give feedback immediately.
Obviously a high recognition accuracy for your speech recognition system is required, but that is a given. The system is designed to achieve exactly that. When you want added value as a professional, you need to be able to talk to a knowledgeable partner that understands your requirements and is able to consult you properly.

And where does Structured Reporting fit?

Structured Reporting definitely provides added value. By using structured reporting (or synoptic reporting) you can easily assemble your report from standard parts of text and eventually reuse the structured data for analytical purposes. With the right technology, you can easily add decision support to that too. This information can act as medical guidelines geared towards your profession too. To fully utilise structured reporting – you do however, need a full and thorough workflow.
Any comments or feedback on this blog? Please let us know using Disqus on the right-hand side of the page!
Interested in finding out more? Take a look at our Pathology Brochure 

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