Mackay Base Hospital in Queensland is a pioneer in using digital technology to deliver healthcare services. In its latest adoption of innovative tech, clinicians in Mackay’s Emergency Department used Dragon Medical One, Nuance’s cloud-based clinical speech recognition solution, to create documentation using just their voice. We spoke to Dr Pieter Nel, Chief Digital Director Medical Services at Mackay, to find out how Dragon Medical One accelerates documentation, improves patient flow, care, and safety—and enhances the clinician experience.
Mackay Hospital and Health Service serves around 180,000 people in a range of regional, community, and rural settings in Queensland. One of these settings—Mackay Base Hospital—is the referral hospital for the region, seeing around 271,000 outpatient visits and caring for more than 81,200 people in its Emergency Department each year.
To help it provide the best possible care, Mackay is committed to putting innovative digital technology at the heart of its healthcare services. In line with that mission, Mackay Base Hospital is one of the most digitally advanced hospitals in Queensland. It recently introduced Nuance’s cloud-based clinical speech recognition solution, Dragon Medical One, integrated with its Cerner ieMR, to provide powerful new documentation capabilities.
Using Dragon Medical One, Nuance PowerMic, and Nuance PowerMic Mobile, clinicians in the Emergency Department can document their decision-making using only their voice and automatically create accurate, detailed clinical notes in the Cerner ieMR. And as Dr Pieter Nel, Chief Digital Director Medical Services at Mackay, told us, the hospital and its clinicians have already seen some remarkable results.
By analysing workflow data with Cerner Lights On Network®, the team at Mackay noticed a dramatic improvement in documentation speed for clinicians using Dragon Medical One. “It gave us quite considerable time back and we talk about at least two minutes per patient being given back to every clinician, which is a 30% reduction of time spent on documentation,” said Dr Nel.
More time to care
Faster documentation releases time for clinicians to spend with patients, but it also frees up time for Senior Medical Officers to focus on the wellbeing of the entire care team and mentoring junior doctors.
“We have the time to look at the wellbeing of our staff, to connect to the nursing team much easier and understand their challenges,” said Dr Nel. “We have time to check up on the wellbeing of RMOs and support them in the challenges of a busy emergency department.”
Improved documentation enhances patient flow, care, and safety
The analytics results also showed that documentation created in Dragon Medical One was more accurate and detailed. Now, creating complete documentation in real time allows Mackay’s Emergency Department clinicians to improve patient flow and safety.
“For clinicians to do documentation in real time is very important. When you do it in real time, you remember the finer detail, and you’ve done it in a structured way—that improves the quality of the notes,” said Dr Nel. “What we also found is that our notes are much more comprehensive, longer, more detailed, but we still gained those two minutes. We could immediately see the advantage of voice-to-text: typing at 30 words per minute with a lot of mistakes versus 170 words a minute.”
More effective handovers from the ED to GPs
With Dragon Medical One, Mackay can also get high-quality clinical information to GPs much faster, supporting more efficient and informed follow-up for patients discharged from the Emergency Department. Now, GPs get a clear view of the plan for the patient, removing the frustration of having to go over the patient’s story during the follow-up consultation.
“It’s definitely improved our discharge summaries,” said Dr Nel. “By the time a patient gets to his car, or the taxi or ambulance is taking him home, the discharge summary handover note has been completed, and an admin person has emailed it through to the GP.”
Increased clinician satisfaction
Now that clinicians can use Dragon Medical One to create documentation three to four times faster than typing, they feel more in control—and they’re able to switch off at the end of their shift.
“Using Dragon Medical One gives me time back, and suddenly I feel I am in control again,” said Dr Nel. “The satisfaction rate has definitely increased. Dragon Medical One gives clinicians the ability to structure their day, be in command again, and go home and feel they’ve done everything possible for the patient today and they can go and spend some time with their family and switch off.”
The early results from Dragon Medical One are very promising for Mackay and its patients. As anybody who’s worked in an Emergency Department will tell you, when clinicians have more time to spend with their patients—and with their families—the outcomes are better for everyone.