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Digital dictation is a popular workflow method within the healthcare sector but many people still ask us: ‘What is digital dictation?’

But first, let’s rewind a few years to the traditional method of dictation. Dictation was extremely basic before it was modernized.

Doctors or other professionals used to dictate into a tape recorder.

The doctor then hand-delivered the tapes to a secretary who played the tapes aloud and typed them up manually. The final document is then sent to the appropriate persons.

Times have obviously changed since then with brand-new technology, which brings us to digital dictation.

Male doctor dictation into a Philips voice recorder in the corridor of a hospital

what is digital dictation

The Process

Thanks to new voice recorders, such as the Philips or Olympus dictaphones, dictation is much easier.

Philips and Olympus offer dictation hardware and software solutions including SpeechExec Pro, SpeechLive and ODMS.

Authors can now speak directly into their voice recorder which has a studio-quality microphone. This guarantees that crackling tapes with awful quality are a thing of the past.

The complete audio will then be sent via the internet, over a network connection, to the server.

The server will then notify the secretaries that a new job is available for them to type up the audio into a tangible document.

As you can imagine, the ability to send the file via an internet connection saves a lot of time.

Prior to the existence of digital dictation, a doctor may not have been able to return the tape to the surgery for typing for a day or two.

As a result, the composing of the patient letter is delayed and the quality of the service is lowered.

With this new method, the doctor can send the recording immediately. The secretary can then begin immediately rather than waiting. This process equals a quicker turnaround time and service.

This also allows the secretary staff to be utilized more efficiently and avoids a “feast or famine” situation whereby all the jobs come through at once.

Olympus DS9500 voice recorder - a black Dictaphone docked on its station.

Coupled with that, it also allows the secretaries to pick up the high-priority dictations first. This eliminates the need for the secretary to find urgent jobs in the middle of the tape.

Dictation apps allow for the transmission of voice recordings via a smartphone. Most solutions have a relative app, Philips SpeechLive and Olympus ODMS are just a few.

Philips also offers outsourced typing with their app at an additional charge. This means you wouldn’t need to send the recording to your secretary.

Man with a grey beard and suit on sits at a desk in front of a laptop. He holds a DPM voice recorder and dictates into it.

Benefits of Digital Dictation


Dictation apps and voice recorders ensure the security of your files whilst in transit thanks to encryption.

This method of documentation is ideal for those in careers in which confidentiality is paramount i.e. lawyers or doctors.

Time- efficient

Digital dictation cuts out the manual transmission of the recordings as well as reduces the turnaround time for letters.

Improved service

As a result of digital dictation is a quicker process, doctors are able to spare more time when dictating their notes. Patients will receive a more attentive and personalized level of care.

We support more advanced dictation systems, such as Philips SpeechLive. They are classed as back-end speech recognition.

These systems incorporate speech recognition software to turn your audio file into a document. To expand, a computer will listen to your recording and use speech-to-text intelligence to type it up.

Yet another time and cost-efficient way of creating documentation. Winscribe also supports a cloud-based back-end end speech recognition.

It is also possible to have on-premise back-end speech recognition. This is available with the Philips, Olympus and Winscribe digital dictation solutions.

Interested In Digital Dictation?

If you are interested in learning more about digital dictation or back-end speech recognition, please feel free to get in touch.

We’re happy to talk through available options.

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