The benefits of using speech recognition software within Cerner’s electronic patient record.

Cerner and Nuance have been working closely together to develop AI technologies and deploy solutions jointly with trusts to optimise workflows and enhance the clinician experience. This partnership has enabled the seamless integration of Nuance’s Dragon Medical One speech recognition software with Cerner Millennium, making it faster and easier for clinicians to update their electronic patient record. Nuance recently hosted a webinar on the benefits of using voice-to-text within Cerner Millennium and how it can be used to support the documentation process.

Senior physician executive for Cerner Wale Lawal opened the webinar, demonstrating the ease of dictation and navigation within the Cerner EPR, as well as the flexibility and customisation available to clinicians that allows the recording of information to be accelerated.

Pav Sumbal, client development manager at Nuance, explained how embedding this solution has had a significant impact on outpatient workflow. For Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the benefits have included being able to work in the EPR in real-time, standardising the letter process and enabling letters to be sent out to GPs faster, and eliminating the need to outsource transcription services, which generates financial savings for the trust. With the increase in productivity and the time savings that the software affords, tasks can be redirected. This has been particularly valuable during the pandemic when many staff are isolating or off sick.

Dr Carlo Prina and Paul Adams from Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, where the solution has been live since 2018, outlined their positive experience from implementation and training to full roll out. All clinicians in acute services across the trust are now using speech recognition for all outpatient activity, allowing clinicians to navigate the EPR more efficiently. Significantly, the trust has seen the previous average turnaround for clinic letters of 17.7 days reduced to just 2.2 days, and 90 per cent are now sent out within 24 hours.

A key component of the successful rollout at Homerton University Hospital was getting buy-in from staff across the organisation. They did this by engaging with both clinical and secretarial leadership, as well as ensuring they had strong board involvement. During the initial stages, they also supported clinicians to use the software in clinics.

With the move to virtual consultations, and with secretarial teams working from home, remote access to Cerner and Dragon Medical One has been essential for Homerton’s staff and has made this transition much easier.

The software means clinicians can focus more on patient care and have better interactions during consultations. Other benefits that have been seen include increased adoption of the EPR, quicker return on investment, and reduced burden of clinical administration.

Stephen Docherty, industry executive for health at Microsoft, concluded the webinar with a presentation on the future of speech recognition in healthcare. Microsoft recently announced its first industry-specific cloud offering, which will aid the development of new technologies to accelerate health transformation.

Nuance is working closely with Microsoft to bring cloud-based ambient clinical intelligence to the UK that will accurately capture clinicians’ every word during consultations as well as relevant patient responses, turning natural language into coherent sentences. The software will be capable of automatically extracting problems and identifying orders, with virtual assistants to help get information in and out of the EPR. Integrated machine vision will also capture non-verbal cues. This means that clinical documentation will effectively write itself.

Having this technology to assist with healthcare administration means improved clinical insights and enhanced engagement with patients, which will equip the NHS to tackle workforce shortages and other resource challenges they may face in the future.

Read Cerner customer case study

Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have transformed clinical documentation in outpatient services with Dragon Medical One

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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.