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Medical Voice Recognition Frees Up Time at Coquet Medical Practice

Practice Manager, Lisa Scott, explains their motivation for pursuing a speech-based workflow.

  • Established 40 years ago, 6 partners, 3 GPs.
  • 11,000 patients annually.
  • Tight budgets and diminishing resources.
  • Slow turnaround of letters.
  • Out-dated technology, and inefficient processes.
  • TPP SystmOne clinical system.
  • Precious resources freed up to focus on patients.
  • Better levels of care and service.
  • Patient letters are available instantly.

Who is Coquet Medical Practice?

Established over 40 years ago, Coquet Medical Practice is situated over two sites, three miles apart in North Northumberland. It has six partners and three GPs who treat just over 11,000 patients annually.

Today, it is using Dragon Medical real-time, medical voice recognition solution from Nuance Communications. It can dramatically reduce the amount of time GPs spend documenting care, by 30 minutes or more a day.

Lisa Scott, Practice Manager at Coquet Medical Practice, explains the drivers for the Practice’s speech-based future.




Life Before Dragon


Previously, the doctors would dictate into voice recorders.

“The tapes would then be given to the secretaries for transcription, and the usual turnaround time – except in urgent cases – was about two days.” – Lisa Scott, Practice Manager

This transcription was almost a full-time role for the secretaries. However, if a secretary based at one site was off, their tapes had to be collected and brought back to the other site for transcription.

This wasn’t a very practical or efficient process or a good use of time. Furthermore, the recorders were getting old and the audio quality from the tapes was deteriorating.





Efficiency is Priority


When faced with secretarial natural wastage through two retirements, Coquet Medical Practice conducted a review of working practices.

Their approach is always to ask ‘Can we find a better way to do this?’ rather than just carry out a like-for-like replacement. Discussions with their  IT Department led us to the subject of speech recognition software.

The team then met with other practices that are using the technology, to learn about their experiences, from training, and installation to day-to-day benefits.

“We were impressed by what we saw and also their enthusiasm for technology. The doctors and admin were convinced it was saving them time and they are now Dragon Medical converts.” – Lisa Scott, Practice Manager

The practices IT department recommended that we speak to authorised Nuance re-seller partner VoicePower about training and installation.

“VoicePower were excellent and provided many demos, ongoing training and support. They provided one-on-one training for each Dragon user of about three hours per session, as well as online training.” – Lisa Scott, Practice Manager





Integrating Dragon into The Team


Typically, some staff took less encouragement than others. Some members of the team had tried medical voice recognition in the past but didn’t persevere with it and “They were astonished at how much better the technology is now.”

“Younger members of the team who have had more recent, positive experiences with speech technology, saw the benefits immediately and were keen to embrace the concept of swapping tape-based dictation for voice recognition. I, too, could see that it has improved a lot.” – Lisa Scott, Practice Manager




The Impact of Dragon Medical Voice Recognition


“From a secretarial perspective, they now have more time to carry out other work tasks.” – Lisa Scott, Practice Manager

Concerning patient letters, they take the transcribed text, put it in the appropriate letter format, proofread it, and then send the letters out.

Lisa explained: “As we have turned them from typists into editors, letter turnaround times can now happen within a day – the process is so much more efficient.”

From a doctor’s and patients’ perspective, some doctors use Dragon Medical to create their consultation notes.

“Some are now doing this with the patient present, which reassures them that their consultation has been captured accurately, while also giving them the chance to make changes or correct a point if necessary.”

Furthermore, Lisa says that Dragon makes work very accessible: “By that, I mean that the patient letters are there almost instantly, so secretaries can proof them straight away. Dragon has improved the information flow and it saves time.” – Lisa Scott, Practice Manager

“Secretaries can finish work quicker saving them a good few hours a week. It is a lot more effective than listening to crackling tapes.”




Key Benefits for The Practice


Lisa is pleased to say that “The time-saving has been considerable, given the speed at which letters can be created and issued. We have not had to budget for extra headcount to replace the secretaries that have retired.” – Lisa Scott, Practice Manager

What’s more: “Our existing secretaries can now concentrate on other patient-facing tasks to provide an even better level of care and service.”

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