Productivity fired up at Bramhall Park Medical Centre, Stockport
Medical practice has changed considerably since Dr Devine & Partners was founded in the late 1800s in Stockport, in the north west of England. Despite the passage of time and a name change to Bramhall Park Medical Centre to better reflect the surgery’s location, one thing has remained consistent over the years: its focus on maintaining and delivering high standards of patient care. This has been achieved by adopting medical best practice, and implementing the latest technological solutions to continually improve standards of treatment.
Today, the Bramhall Park Medical Centre is located on two sites. The main surgery is still in Bramhall, with an additional surgery located in Shaw Heath. The few miles that separate the surgeries are connected by a centralised computer system, which enables the surgery’s ten doctors and its practice support team to serve its 12,900 patients, during 50,000 consultations annually. Thanks to the surgery’s reputation for treatment excellence, it is experiencing an increase in patient numbers, of up to 400 per annum. This growth – combined with a headcount reduction through a retirement – encouraged the surgery to assess the best way to optimise its medical document workflow process, to simultaneously accommodate an increase in patients without impacting the doctors’ productivity, or the levels of patient care they deliver.
Speech at the heart of progress
In keeping with its forward thinking philosophy, most recently the surgery introduced Dragon Medical from Nuance following a consultation process with VoicePower Ltd, a Nuance Healthcare Connections Partner. Dragon Medical is Nuance’s popular, real-time, desktop speech recognition software, used by doctors and surgeries globally for the faster, more efficient and cost effective creation of clinical documentation. By speeding up this process, Dragon Medical typically leaves doctors with more time for their patients. Developed to enable doctors to conveniently and efficiently generate clinical letters and navigate clinical systems, Dragon Medical maximises healthcare professionals’ productivity and performance, enabling them to do more with less, to save time, reduce costs, improve information accuracy and raise the quality of service and care delivered to patients. With Dragon Medical, clinical letters can be dictated directly, up to three times faster than typing, which helps to meet targets to get discharge letters to patients within 24 hours. With accurate reporting central to delivering optimised patient care, Dragon Medical’s accuracy rates of up to 99% ensure clear, accurate, and timely clinical letters. To ensure consistent accuracy, Dragon Medical has been optimised for non-native speakers too, while new medical vocabularies cover almost 80 specialities and sub-specialities.
Dragon Medical – helping surgeries do more with less
One measure the surgery took to accommodate the growth in patient numbers – and to even out the peaks and troughs of appointment booking during the day – was to overhaul its appointment booking system. It introduced a booking service that is accessible 24hrs a day, giving its patients more flexibility over when they book appointments. With that challenge addressed, the surgery then turned its attention to how best to create patient letters and referrals. Although it had already made an investment in digital dictation solutions, this alone would not be enough to address the issue of a smaller secretarial team dealing with an increase in medical documentation. In response to this challenge – and based on his personal experiences – one of the surgery’s doctors proposed that it considered assessing Dragon Medical.
Training for better results
The surgery arranged a consultation and demonstration of the software via VoicePower. Impressed by Dragon Medical’s accuracy and ease of use following the consultation, the surgery purchased licences for its ten doctors along with installation, customisation and training through VoicePower. Kath Wilkinson, Practice Manager said: “VoicePower demonstrated Dragon Medical to the surgery’s doctors, explaining the main features and how Dragon Medical can be used for the creation of patient letters and referrals. After the initial set-up and training, VoicePower returned to conduct a second round of training, tailored to the needs of each doctor. One of the areas that VoicePower explained in greater detail was the ability to create standard letter templates, or letter templates that related to specific medical conditions, such as diabetes for instance.” Today, doctors at the surgery dictate patient letters or referrals after a consultation. As part of a quality control process, the letters are then sent to secretaries to be checked. This removes the time consuming requirement for secretaries to transcribe the entire letter from an audio file recording, then send it back to the doctor for proof-reading and factual accuracy. “Dragon Medical has helped accelerate the letter turnaround time”, states Kath, “because the bulk of the letter creation is now done quickly by the doctor.” By removing the need for the secretary to transcribe the entire digital dictation voice file, Dragon Medical has also smoothed out another process at the surgery. Previously the transcription process was prone to disruption if one of the secretaries was absent either through illness or holiday. Using Dragon Medical, the letters are now transcribed on site in real-time, with secretaries now acting as editors, rather than writers. This ensures that the speed of the transcription process is now consistent and less susceptible to delays or set-backs.
Delivering success with dragon medical
Kath is keen to stress that the surgery’s success to date with Dragon Medical can be attributed to the support from VoicePower. As well as the accuracy inherent in Dragon Medical, she states that consulting with an authorised partner that’s both experienced in speech recognition technology and understands the specific needs of the healthcare industry, is essential for the delivery of a comprehensive – and tailored – training programme, and to ensure a smooth deployment. Since deploying Dragon Medical, Kath points to three noticeable benefits. She said: “Thanks to the Dragon Medical solution supplied by VoicePower, we have not had to replace headcount lost through natural wastage, so the surgery has made an appreciable cost saving there. Patient letters and referrals are now turned around far more quickly, so we’re seeing a real increase in productivity. The letter templates relating to common ailments also play a role in helping to drive productivity too.” Would Kath recommend it to other surgeries? “For the efficiency gains, and cost savings we have made using Dragon Medical, I would definitely say yes!”