Documentation capture

3 ways speech recognition is helping protect clinician wellbeing

Four men sitting on stage, one is talking and the other three are looking at him listening

In March, we welcomed industry colleagues from all corners of Europe for our 2023 Healthcare Partner Event in Barcelona. Across a busy three-day schedule, we explored how powerful partnerships can bring even more value to clinicians, support staff, and patients. In our Clinician Wellbeing panel session, three experts joined Nuance CMIO Dr Arnaud Wilmet on stage to discuss how they’re using speech recognition in different healthcare settings to help clinicians focus on themselves and the parts of their jobs that matter the most.

March was a busy month for Nuance events, and our healthcare business was no exception. We gathered partners from across Europe in Barcelona for our 2023 Healthcare Partner Event, where we celebrate the teams that work so hard to support us and our customers on their healthcare transformation journeys.

There was a packed schedule over the three-day event, exploring text analytics, speech recognition, and other key technologies for the healthcare space—as well as talking directly to partners and customers about their challenges and successes.

It was a real privilege to get up on stage for our Clinician Wellbeing panel discussion and talk to our customers about their work, how speech recognition is helping them and their colleagues reclaim time and energy, and the importance of partner support for clinical adoption.

I was joined by Dr Ahmad Moukli, GP and Clinical Lead at Prospect House Surgery in the UK, Dr Vincent Col, CMIO at Belgium’s Clinique Saint Pierre, and Dr Erik Sköldenberg, former CMIO for the Healthcare Regional Council of Uppsala in Sweden. Here are some key themes I picked out from our discussion:

The circumstances may differ, but the challenges are similar

The healthcare landscape varies widely across Europe, but there were many shared challenges that emerged from our discussion. For example, an aging population is exerting growing pressure on an aging workforce; in a third of European countries, 40% of their doctors are approaching retirement.

“It’s not a secret that this is a crisis,” said Dr Moukli. “An aging population, increasing demands, reducing resources, funding problems, vacancies that are difficult to fill—and the pandemic was the icing on the cake. That’s led us to a significant reduction in our work capacity.”

Indeed, there’s a record high of more than 130,000 vacancies for doctors, nurses, and other clinical staff in England’s NHS. This strain on capacity was echoed by our other panellists too, with Dr Sköldenberg noting that Sweden was among the nations with the lowest number of available beds per capita, and struggled to provide a consistent standard of care for patients in its remote rural regions.

“In my hospital, we have a little over 400 beds,” added Dr Col. “And more than 10% of those beds have been closed for a year and a half—there’s a huge impact on day-to-day operations. Sometimes, we cannot take on emergencies, and we must delay patients with scheduled operations.”

These challenges create a difficult environment for clinicians, whether they’re working in primary care, secondary care, or other disciplines. Under constant pressure to deliver high-quality care with time, budget, and resources all limited, it’s no wonder that clinician wellbeing is declining.

Many countries, including the four nations represented in our discussion, are focusing on digital transformation as a key avenue for improving the clinician experience, which has led to the rise of technologies like electronic patient records, telehealth systems, and speech recognition tools.

Speech recognition is a versatile tool for clinician support

Each of our panellists are the spearhead of speech recognition adoption in their organisations, using our clinical documentation companion Dragon Medical One in their everyday practice. Speech recognition can alleviate some of the major pressures of a clinician’s day: the burden of high documentation requirements, maintaining a busy schedule of appointments, and getting to go home on time. Here are three of the key benefits our panellists highlighted:

  1. Detailed, accurate documentation—produced in real time

At Prospect House Surgery, Dr Moukli credits speech recognition for allowing him enough time to record patient interactions in detail. “I think the main benefit is the quality of the EMR,” he said. “Rather than saying a couple of sentences because I’m rushing through, I’m spending 30 to 40 seconds creating high-quality detailed notes for myself and subsequent colleagues.”

In England, all patients will soon have access to their whole medical record, which will include everything their clinician types or dictates. “That’s where the accuracy, volume, and flow of information is so important,” Dr Moukli said. “If you want to keep your sanity, it’s only possible with technology—otherwise you’re going to be running late all the time.”

  1. Flexibility for clinicians on the go

For Dr Col, the mobility of working with Dragon Medical One and PowerMic Mobile is key to his productivity. “I have to cross the hospital to find all my patients, because you have to use beds where they’re available,” he said. “I bring my laptop and PowerMic Mobile and I can go from patient to patient and from ward to ward, dictating the file on the go.”

And when he’s at his desk, dictating notes quickly means he has more bandwidth to handle interruptions. “I have 30 minutes for each patient, but I get calls from everywhere; the context shifting is really bad,” Dr Col explained. “When I’m using Dragon, my personal workflow is faster because I don’t need to type.”

“Whatever computer you use, as long as you have a good connection you’re good to go,” added Dr Moukli. He uses Dragon Medical One at his surgery and at home when he’s working for NHS 111, the UK’s non-emergency helpline. “All of my data, all of my templates, in one place.”

  1. A tailored experience for every specialty

Each panellist works in a very different specialism. Dr Moukli is a former orthopaedic surgeon, currently working as a GP, Dr Col is an endocrinologist, and Dr Sköldenberg is a paediatric neurologist. Dragon’s speech recognition is a highly versatile tool, fitting easily into all kinds of workflows across a healthcare organisation and adapting to each clinician’s unique needs and preferences.

Dr Sköldenberg also highlighted the impact of Dragon for other medical staff during our discussion. “It’s fascinating to listen to colleagues from different parts of the world, where the reasons for implementing Dragon are different,” he said. “Several of our key pilots have been with other healthcare providers, like therapists and dieticians. Psychology documentation, for example, can be massive—and our psychologists say that speech recognition has changed their lives.”

Collaboration is the core of success

As we were speaking at our Healthcare Partner Event, we naturally discussed how important partnership can be for introducing speech recognition successfully. For many organisations, partners are the key to extending the workplace wellbeing benefits of Dragon Medical One to more people—and ensuring each clinician can use the solution in a way that suits them. Dr Moukli thanked partner Crescendo for its support, while Dr Col spoke about working with his local partner, Vocvox.

And for Dr Sköldenberg, the conversation highlighted the value of collaboration for maximising shared learning. “The more I listen to other colleagues, I’m starting to think it’s a very good strategy,” he said. “The partners who are going around to many different hospitals and healthcare providers see much more than we can at a single facility.” I’d like to thank our panellists again for their time and expertise, and thank our partners in the audience for their support. By working together, we enable Dragon Medical One to constantly evolve and improve, bringing more value to the clinician experience and patient care.

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Arnaud Wilmet, MD

About Arnaud Wilmet, MD

Arnaud Wilmet, MD is Chief Medical Information Officer at Nuance where he is in charge of the France Medical Accounts. Prior joining the team, he managed a Pediatrics center in Paris for five years and implemented a full patient integrated EHR with success. He joined Cerner France where he applies clinical knowledge to facilitate development, marketing, sales and integration of solutions to improve patient outcomes and raise physician satisfaction in French Hospitals. He relocated 3 years in the USA as a Senior Physician Executive for Cerner Corp. working with major clients. His last role was Chief Medical Officer of H4D, a telehealth provider where he manages the virtual clinics and medical affairs. Dr. Wilmet finished medical school at University of Angers as a family practice physician. The breadth of his background has given him a holistic perspective which encompasses both the patient and provider experience.