Documentation in healthcare is an ever-growing challenge. But as clinician teams become more overwhelmed as workloads scale, many are exploring how they can tackle administrative tasks more efficiently on platforms like TPP SystmOne. Clinicians from NHS primary care and secondary care settings discussed this challenge in our recent webinar and offered their key perspectives. Get the highlights, here.
th clinician teams in the NHS being stretched further every year, it’s becoming increasingly clear how much documentation contributes to their workloads.
Currently, the average clinician spends more than a third of their working week on documentation tasks—25% longer than seven years ago. And that’s on top of the 3.2 hours that most clinicians spend on documentation outside their working hours.
In our recent webinar, we brought together clinicians from primary and secondary care alongside experts from Nuance and TPP to share their perspectives on the documentation burden healthcare professionals face today. They also explored how clinicians can navigate and complete documentation on platforms like SystmOne more efficiently.
Here are some key takeaways from their conversation.
Comprehensive notes are key to a smooth patient journey
Accurate documentation has always been crucial to ensuring seamless patient journeys. But as clinicians continue to be strained by increasing workloads, maintaining this high quality becomes an even more difficult—but essential—challenge.
Matt Curtis, GP and Clinical Advisor, offered his perspective from working in primary care: “I have a huge desire to make my notes more comprehensive, as it’s not just me who reads them. They need to be understood by my other colleagues in primary care, clinicians in other care settings and, increasingly, patients. It’s important they’re understandable, accurate, and spelt correctly.”
Digitisation in the NHS has gone a long way to help to improve the accuracy of notes in healthcare—clinicians are encouraged to capture more details at every step of the care journey, and there’s no risk of unintelligible handwriting. But, as Eric Finlay, Consultant Paediatric Nephrologist, explained, it’s come at a trade-off.
“With digital came more precision, but it also increased documentation burden among clinicians,” added Mr Finlay. “It’s created a lot of additional administrative work, and I fully recognise that my efficiency has fallen in the last ten to fifteen years compared to working with paper.”
This constant fight for documentation accuracy increases the pressure already created by clinicians’ ever-rising workloads. But, as a key thread between primary and secondary care units, clinicians can’t risk taking any shortcuts with their documentation.
Clear communication is created with accurate documentation
Both Mr Finlay and Dr Curtis highlighted how important documentation is to the communication between primary and secondary care—and ultimately, the quality of care patients receive.
As Mr Finlay explained: “Many would argue that primary and secondary care aren’t that different; we all look after the same patients. GPs like Matt prescribe the medications I advise, so there needs to be a clear line of communication at all times.”
A lot of the time, this line of communication is completely dependent on the documentation clinicians like Mr Finlay and Dr Curtis create.
“Most of what I document is the thought processes behind my decisions, so people in the future can understand the conclusions I came to,” said Mr Finlay. “If we’re dictating thoughts two or three weeks later and waiting for someone to transcribe them, that’s a problem. I won’t have a fresh memory when it comes to editing the documentation, and there’s a big administrative burden there.”
For Dr Curtis, the key factor that slows down administrative tasks such as documentation creation—and in turn communication—is repetitive tasks.
“The challenges I have in primary care are very similar to those Eric faces in secondary care. There are many repetitive things I do in every consultation that need to be documented, and it takes me a long time using a keyboard,” explained Dr Curtis. “If there’s a way for me to use shortcuts and voice commands to record that repetitive information quickly, that’ll be to everyone’s advantage.”
Speech recognition offers a way forward
One way clinicians across primary and secondary care are tackling their administrative challenges is by using speech recognition. Solutions like Dragon Medical One. are used to dictate notes directly into electronic patient records instead of typing. Dragon voice commands simplify the navigation through clinical systems like SystmOne and can also be used to insert customised text templates.
Dr Curtis is a long-time user of SystmOne—TPP’s flagship clinical system for patient records—and sees speech recognition as the next evolutionary step for productivity. “SystmOne can show me the entirety of a patient’s medical record, which is great, but by its nature is very complicated,” he explained. “We’ve had toolbars and shortcuts to help us speed up navigation for years, but voice command is definitely the next solution.”
For Mr Finlay, the key value is eliminating the repetition Dr Curtis spoke about. “As consultants, we repeat a lot of the same information over and over again. If we can integrate speech recognition into ward rounds, throughout more clinics, and within secondary care, it will help us save an enormous amount of time,” he said. “If you’re able to see what you’re dictating in real time, you can improve the quality of your documentation, and get it approved much faster.”
See Dragon Medical One in action in SystmOne
It becomes even easier to understand the value of speech recognition solutions when you can see them being used in live clinical settings and systems. That’s why we put together a demo of Dragon Medical One working in SystmOne as part of our session.
You can watch the session on demand to see how Dragon can be used to navigate SystmOne with voice commands, dictate notes directly into patient records, and retrieve auto-text and templates. You’ll also hear the experts share how Dragon Medical One is tailored to clinicians’ daily workflows—and how it can help your teams tackle administrative tasks more efficiently.