Key to realising the ambition of the recently published NHS Long Term Plan is 'a commitment to making better use of data and digital technology'. We summarise 3 ways in which clinical speech recognition technology is already delivering on the plan
The NHS Long Term Plan describes its data and digital and technology commitment as the ambition ‘to provide more convenient access to services and health information for patients…better access to digital tools and patient records for staff, and improvements to the planning and delivery of services based on the analysis of patient and population data’
Clinical speech recognition technology is already making a real and significant contribution to NHS plans not just in the long term but in the here and now.
1.Patient and population data quality
If analysis of data at a patient and population level is to play a pivotal role in the future planning and delivery of services, the analysis must be based upon data that can be trusted. The data must be of high quality. Clinical speech recognition enables clinicians to quickly and easily capture the patient story at the point of care. The patient record is completed instantaneously and directly into the electronic patient record. Recorded in this way, the data is available in real-time, accurate and complete. Quality data is immediately ready for codification and subsequent analysis.
2. Access to patient records for staff
Where once paper records dominated, the NHS’ widespread investment in electronic patient records (EPRs), at least in theory, enables a single summary view of each patient’s healthcare record available to healthcare professionals throughout the patient journey. However the burden of administration placed upon clinicians in updating the EPR and other digitised clinical documentation has been shown to consume up to 50% of a clinician’s day. The use of clinical speech recognition enabling clinicians to capture the record typically 3 to 5 times faster than typing frees them to focus more upon patient care. It supports the achievement of the single summary view of each patient’s healthcare record: up-to-date and available in real-time, to healthcare professionals, throughout the patient journey.
3. Access to services and health information for patients
Hand-in-hand with the availability of applications such as Skype, making it easier and more convenient for patients to remotely access and consult with their healthcare practitioner, is the ability for the clinician to capture the record of the patient consultation. Now the clinician can involve the patient in the consultation, update the patient record in the moment and speed-up clinic letters containing information about treatment, referrals etc. Backlogs and turnaround times of clinic letters are reduced from weeks to days and the patient-clinician relationship is enhanced.