Clinical documentation plays an important role in the patient-physician encounter as it collects and represents all the patient-related data at a primary level. Industry experts believe that the growing importance of clinical documentation in healthcare is likely to be reflected in an increased use of digital dictation and speech to text systems.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that a recent report by Fortune Business Insights: ‘Medical Transcription Software Europe Market Analysis, Insights and Forecast, 2022-2029’ revealed that it is clinicians who are the major users within healthcare of medical transcription software (representing 39.3% of the total number of users). The primary application is for documenting patient records and helping to capture patient history.
Within general practices there is a significant reliance on dictation solutions to assist in the swift production of clinical documentation in order to process patient requirements and authorise onward treatment accordingly. Large numbers of vital documents are produced after each point of care session to support consultations and instruct referrals.
The second major category of users is radiologists, accounting for 33.6% of the total number within healthcare. In fact, the radiologist segment is expected to grow due to the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and severe injuries that are leading to higher numbers of diagnostic procedures.
Examples of benefits
- Accuracy - conversations between healthcare providers and patients provide the foundation of a patient’s diagnosis and treatment plan. It’s vital, therefore, that this information is accurate. Dictation solutions provide a means of transcribing the voice-recorded patient story by the physician or healthcare practitioner at the time of patient encounter, thus helping to ensure that all relevant facts are included for future reference.
- Speed – using transcription services enables healthcare professionals to either generate typed and formatted correspondence themselves or send audio files to support staff, thus cutting the turnaround time for generating the required documents.
- Optimum use of highly paid professionals - automation of the processes involved in generating clinical documentation means that healthcare professionals are better able to focus on patient treatment by saving the time they would otherwise spend on preparing clinical documentation.
A key challenge for all legal firms is to produce a range of high-quality documents including briefs, contracts, case materials and records of client communication. And this challenge has been exacerbated by the increased adoption within the sector of hybrid working.
Added to this, legal firms in common with all businesses are constantly looking for ways to increase profitability and one obvious way of achieving this is to maximise billable hours.
With these factors in mind, it should be no surprise that the primary users of digital dictation and speech recognition solutions in legal firms are the fee earners, typically partners, solicitors or legal executives.
With clients’ needs becoming more complex and concentrated, fee-earners need greater flexibility to be able to process recorded files for transcription whilst being out of the office. Firms must be able to accommodate clients’ demands for improved timescales, even when fee-earners are working offsite, meaning that dictation systems are growing in popularity.
Examples of benefits
- Streamlining document production - law firms typically depend on legal secretaries or external transcriptionists to transcribe legal documents. However, this can lead to delays in the reviewing and editing stages. By integrating dictation solutions with workflow software, the entire document creation and management processes are being streamlined.
- Enhanced service to clients - providing a more responsive service with faster document turnaround, incorporating high quality documents with fewer errors is becoming a business differentiator.
- Greater focus on billable work - fee earners are able to spend less time on support activities such as document creation and editing through the use of cloud-based dictation systems, which in turn frees them up to spend more time with clients and have a greater focus on work that is directly billable.
Many accounting firms have made significant progress in using technology to support their core operations. For example, online accounting software from the likes of Xero, Sage and QuickBooks is in common use, whilst Practice Management software has been widely adopted.
There is also a requirement to produce a wide range of documents from financial statements and minutes of meetings through to reports to letters. Many of these are a result of off-site meetings with clients, so digital dictation and speech recognition solutions are playing a crucial role.
Consequently, as with legal firms, the focus of dictation solutions is on the fee earners, typically partners, managers and associates.
Mobile dictation tools make it possible for fee earners to work on documents, memos and instructions while with a client and to send these for processing directly from the client’s site. Digital dictation also encourages them to keep more regular and accessible notes.
Addressing compliance requirements is another area where dictation solutions can play an important role. In particular, Practice Assurance a scheme of compulsory practice review which aims to provide accounting firms with a framework of quality assurance principles to help them assess and develop their practices, requires documents to be created and stored quickly, securely and efficiently.
Examples of benefits
- Freeing up professionals’ time – providing the opportunity for fee earners to focus more of their time on high income billable work by reducing the requirement to spend time on creating their own documents.
- Addressing compliance requirements - inevitably much of the information generated by legal firms will contain personal information that should be encrypted and backed-up. Coupled with this is the requirement to address specific quality assurance principles. Dictation solutions help by ensuring that documentation is accurate, complete and timely, thereby facilitating compliance and reducing risk.
There are a number of common themes that emerge, irrespective of the industry sector. These include time savings in terms of faster document turnround, producing more accurate documents and ultimately providing a better customer service.
One of the most interesting aspects, however, is freeing up the time of professionals and how this is exploited within the different sectors. Where profit is a major factor, the time saved can be spent on maximising billable hours, whilst in healthcare it provides the opportunity for professionals to have a greater focus on patient treatment.