The benefits of using digital dictation systems

Digital dictation systems can deliver a ranger of benefits to your organisation in terms of increased efficiencies, improved accuracy in document creation and enhanced support for hybrid working.

The benefits of using digital dictation systems

Put simply, digital dictation is a method of recording and editing speech digitally. This can be done via a wide variety of devices, from mobile devices which are used out of the office whilst dictating, through to fixed microphones for use in the office and even mobile phones.

Recordings can be encrypted in real time and then uploaded to a cloud-based platform or routed to an appropriate destination via a local area network, FTP server or email for subsequent transcription.

When sending the digital files for transcription, systems typically allow the author to specify when the work needs to be completed by and to set priorities. In addition, they are able to see a clear digital audit trail of all dictations and transcriptions, together with the completion status at any given time.

Increasingly digital dictation solutions also integrate with workflow software to help streamline the entire document production, approval and filing processes.

The benefits

Digital dictation systems use well established, proven technology that can provide users with a number of significant benefits. These include:

  • Greater efficiency: First and foremost, it is generally accepted that most authors can dictate text around three times faster than they can type it, which means that significant time can be saved in putting together the “outline” document. Following on from this, the ability to electronically transmit or upload the resultant digital file directly to the transcriptionist is also as a major time saving.
  • High quality sound: Modern digital dictation devices incorporate studio-quality microphones that provide a high quality recording, particularly when compared with the sound quality in tapes. In addition, such devices have the ability to clearly record voices, even if the environment is too noisy. The user also has the option to speed up the audio or slow it down when recording, meaning that it is easier to hear and understand the recorded voice.
  • Improved accuracy: Importantly, the quality of the sound mentioned above can also help to improve transcription accuracy and speed. This can be particularly important in areas such as the legal or healthcare sectors where the requirement to produce accurate transcriptions is particularly critical. Indeed, problems with accuracy is one of the potential drawbacks frequently cited for speech to text systems.
  • Enhanced security: In some industry sectors it can be important to keep voice recordings secure, as they may contain personal details or other sensitive information. This concern is addressed by enabling digital recordings to be encrypted at source, thereby providing high levels of security. In addition, cloud-based digital dictation systems invariably offer high levels of security, with the use of firewalls, encryption and access control solutions.
  • Managing workloads: With digital files, the transfer and prioritisation of these becomes much simpler, particularly when a central management configuration allows for inter-departmental work sharing and re-distribution during busy periods. It means that work can be shared evenly between transcribers and if one is particularly busy, or there are holiday/sickness issues, then the work can be easily assigned to other resources.
  • Support for remote and hybrid working: Digital dictation solutions, particularly when they are cloud-based, are very flexible, enabling all of the parties involved to work from home or any other location of their choice. This means that multiple teams and individuals can access the same documents and files as they move through the various stages of creation, approval, distribution and storage, regardless of their location.

Moving forward

Looking though the advantages listed above, it’s clear to see why digital dictation systems are well established and providing major benefits to millions of users around the world. Many organisations base their existing document creation processes around digital dictation solutions and are achieving major efficiencies and costs savings, whilst the growth in cloud-based solutions is increasingly addressing the requirements of the hybrid workforce.

Such users are clearly happy with the approach they have taken and are, perhaps, a little wary of using voice recognition software as an alternative, not least because taking the time to “train” the software in order to personalise it and learning how to speak in a way that maximises the overall accuracy of the software isn’t for everyone. Others, however, undoubtedly see speech to text as the way forward.

The reality is probably somewhere in between. Indeed, the two approaches are not mutually exclusive – it is possible to select a digital dictation solution, become proficient in its use and then add speech recognition capabilities at a later date if it seen to be beneficial.

Whatever your choice, dictation software can provide the cornerstone to your document creation activities both now and into the future.

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