A speech recognition solution for GP practices, developed by digital voice specialist TalkingPoint, is easing the burden for secretarial teams at two neighbouring practices in Wantage, Oxfordshire.
Serving more than 24,000 combined patients, Newbury Street and Church Street Practices operate from the same building.
Newbury Street Practice was the first to implement TalkingPoint. Practice manager Bob Lewis said: "We had lost a secretary and so decided that we would use speech recognition as we had heard how much speech technology has improved in recent years."
TalkingPoint has noticeably reduced the workload burden for the secretarial team, saving time in producing referral letters. Lewis added: "Turnaround time is much better - and this is most noticeable on busy days. In the past, letters may have been left for typing up the next morning whereas letters are now generated the same day they are dictated. Also, letters produced using TalkingPoint are longer and more detailed which must be a benefit to both patients and consultants."
Neighbouring Church Street Practice has recently also chosen to adopt the use of TalkingPoint's speech recognition workflow solution. Speaking of the introduction of TalkingPoint in April this year, Sheila Dearman, practice manager, said: "Losing a secretary from our team provided the impetus to start using TalkingPoint. We knew that Newbury Street Practice was using TalkingPoint effectively, and we had been impressed by the potential benefits of using speech recognition when TalkingPoint was demonstrated to us last year. We produce around 200 letters a week and needed a solution to ease this administrative burden."
Commenting on the benefits of using TalkingPoint, Dearman added: "TalkingPoint provides us with an immediate 'one stop shop' as the GPs dictate their letters, correct them, and then that is it as far as they are concerned. The secretary then picks up the letter on her system and processes it; the letter does not go back to the GP. In comparison with digital dictation, this is where letters used to get delayed - the letters always had to be returned to and proof-read by the author."
Mirroring their neighbours, Church Street Practice hopes to achieve improvements in letter quality. Dearman said: "I think speech recognition results in a better quality letter because the doctor sees what they are dictating.
"In comparison to dictation - in the traditional dictation/transcription process - sometimes the doctor would have preferred to rephrase something, but because they didn't want to have to send it back for correction, they would often let the letter go out unchanged. I am hoping that once all the partners are using the TalkingPoint speech recognition workflow system, our written correspondence will give a better impression of the practice."
David Hepburn, sales manager at TalkingPoint, said: "Last year, it was clear that both practices were keen to utilise the benefits that speech recognition can deliver in primary care. We have been delighted to see the immediate improvements in turnaround times at the Newbury Street Practice and the desire to reduce secretarial workload burden at the Church Street Practice.
"TalkingPoint is an easy to use system. Our workflow management capability makes adoption simple for medical practice environments and is a cost effective tool to improve turnaround times and reduce the burden of written correspondence."