Integrating digital speech with workflow

Digital dictation software used in isolation can deliver significant benefits, not least in the time it takes a professional to create the first draft of a document. However, when it is integrated with workflow management software, then the benefits can rise to another level.

Integrating digital speech with workflow
Integrating digital speech with workflow

All businesses use a variety of processes to ensure that tasks are completed in a timely fashion and their goals are achieved. Workflow management focuses on streamlining these processes and automating them where appropriate. It also identifies the employees who are responsible for undertaking specific tasks within the workflow.

By integrating digital dictation software with workflow software a business can automate the entire document production cycle, from the initial voice recording right through to the final sign-off of the document. Indeed, a sign-off feature can enable documents to be authorised remotely, allowing them to progress automatically to the next stage of the workflow without the author/manager needing to be present in the office.

Integration in practice

The legal sector has seen the move to hybrid working become an integral part of many law firms’ strategies, allowing lawyers to use collaboration tools or make site visits in order to spend more time with clients and thus increase their billable hours.

Imagine a situation where an associate solicitor has visited a potential client’s offices and wishes to draw up a short proposal to provide specific guidance to the client on an intellectual property issue. The entire process could be handed by digital speech and workflow integration in the following way:

  • The associate solicitor records the draft content of the proposal at the client’s site using her smartphone, covering the services to be provided together with an indication of the likely cost, and sends the resultant digital file to the firm’s secretarial support group.
  • The draft proposal is transcribed by the support group and automatically sent back to the associate solicitor upon completion for any comments or amendments.
  • The associate solicitor makes any required changes whilst still working remotely (since workflow scenarios can be customised for mobile devices) and sends these back for incorporation into the document.
  • Once these changes have been included, the proposal is automatically passed through to a senior partner for approval. All the while, the progress of the document is clear to see for all those involved.
  • Upon approval, the final proposal is immediately sent out to the prospective client and distributed to all other interested parties.
  • A copy of the document is automatically filed using the firm’s document management system, tagging the document with appropriate search terms.

The overall result is a significantly shorter document turnaround. Not only has the associate solicitor been able to save time in putting the original draft document together, she is also able to manage the full document workflow “on-the-go” from either a mobile or tablet application. This in turn reduces the time she needs to be involved and frees her up for other billable work.

Additional benefits

Other key benefits of successful integration between speech processing and workflow include:

  • Clear version control and audit trail – it is possible to track the version history every time a document is changed and maintain each version along with an auditable trail of changes from the time a document is created to its final released version. Such an audit trail can be particularly important for legal admissibility.
  • Easy template management - when a document requires a specific layout or template, this can be made readily available to the user. In addition, auto-text features can be used to create standard text blocks with input fields in order to minimise the amount of dictation required.

And as the hybrid working model increases in popularity, so the demand for creating, editing and verifying documents on the move also grows. The integration of digital dictation and workflow can play a critical role in this, minimising the amount of time that professionals spend on this activity and freeing them up for other more profitable or patient-critical work.

Take a look at our dictation workflow