BSMHFT operates from over 100+ sites spread across a 172-square-mile region.
Around 135 consultant teams, each comprised of a consultant and several doctors
and nurses, provide care to patients both at home and on-site. Over the years there
has been a steady rise in the volume of correspondence associated with the
ever-increasing demand on healthcare.
Currently, a very small number of services
within BSMHFT use tape-based (analogue) dictation to capture information from
clinicians. Traditionally, dictation is recorded by clinicians on tapes and then
ferried to and from multiple locations across the Trust to medical secretaries.
The correspondence is then typed up by the secretaries and printed out for approval by the clinician before copies are posted to service users or other agencies.
Managing dictation for such a mobile workforce presented several challenges.
The biggest of these was workload.
“Clinicians would sometimes wait until it was convenient for
them to return to base and drop a tape off with their secretary,” explains James Reed, Chief Clinical Information Officer at BSMHFT. "The secretaries ended up with one or two
tapes and didn’t know how many dictations were on them.”
A second challenge was
the risk of damaged tapes, which meant that dictations would have to be redone.
Finally, tapes presented a security risk. They contain private patient information,
and it was important to protect the confidentiality of the recordings.
BSMHFT began looking at Digital Dictation solutions, most of which involved replacing
tape recorders with digital recorders. But this would have only partially solved the
problem as digital recorders still had to be physically returned to the office. In addition,
purchasing a whole new set of digital recorders would have been very expensive.
So the Trust took a different tack. It deployed BigHand for Healthcare, a customised
digital dictation, speech recognition and clinical correspondence solution that
replaces tape and paper based systems used in medical dictation, transcription
and transmission. Based out of London, BigHand, is a leading provider of digital
dictation and speech recognition technology to the UK healthcare market.
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