Mental health services are an important part of the Australian health system with demand for mental health assistance growing significantly over the last two decades. With the increase in care volumes comes an increase in the clinical documentation demanded of our mental health clinicians. Speech recognition is one of the key technologies that can help clinicians spend less time on documentation and more time caring for the wellbeing of their clients and patients.

According to the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare, 10.6% of the Australian population received Medicare-subscribed mental health-specific services in 2018-2019, increasing from 5.7% in 2008-2009.

More recently, the demand for mental health support has been compounded by the prevalence of COVID-19 as Australians deal with the impacts of the pandemic. With calls to Beyond Blue support services, from Victoria only, doubling in the first two weeks of July and studies conducted in the height of the restrictions showing mental health problems twice as prevalent as in non-pandemic circumstances, the demand for mental health support is strong across the country.

Inevitably, the surge for mental health assistance will exacerbate the volume of documentation that already busy clinicians are required to complete, such as assessments, referrals, progress reports and client care plans.

Speech recognition is a technology mental health clinicians can employ to boost productivity, enable remote working and improve the quality of their notes. Using your voice is a more natural and efficient way to capture the complete patient story. When software turns speech into text faster than people can type, clinical documentation can be created faster and more accurately than ever before. When that software is cloud based and AI-powered, like Dragon Medical One, the experience is consistent whether at the hospital, clinic, office, home, or on the road. It can also speed up navigation in the electronic medical record system (EMR), helping to avoid multiple clicks and scrolling.

It has never been more important for psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers and mental health nurses to create detailed and accurate documentation with speed and efficiency.

In our recent whitepaper, Conquering the paperwork mountain in mental health, we outline the drivers for the current increase in mental health services in Australia and examine the impact of the clinical documentation requirements faced by mental health professionals across the country. To download your copy, please click here.

Dr. Simon Wallace

About Dr. Simon Wallace

Dr. Simon Wallace is the Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) of Nuance’s Healthcare division in the UK and Ireland. Simon has worked as a GP, hospital and public health doctor in Brighton and London. His interest in health informatics began in the 90s when he spent a year at the King's Fund investigating the impact of the internet on shared decision making between patients and their healthcare professional. For the past 15 years, he has worked for a range of organisations including Bupa, Dr Foster, Cerner Corporation and GSK across a range of technologies which include electronic patient records, telemedicine, mobile health and lifestyle devices. Simon has a keen interest in the voluntary sector, recently completing a 7 year term as a Trustee for Fitzrovia Youth in Action, a children and young people’s charity based in London.