Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has deployed a new Dragon Naturally Speaking speech recognition system into its radiology department.

The North-east London trust had been operating a Cerner EPR RADnet digital dictation system for sometime but decided to improve its reporting with speech recognition. The Naturally Speaking system sits on top of the original digital dictation application.

With over 100,000 examinations to be reported every year, accuracy, speed of transcription and reporting structures were mission critical requirements and a step up from digital dictation was needed, the trust decided.

Document creation specialists, SRC, set out to streamline the examination reporting process for radiologists and secretaries at the trust, making work less stressful for them and helping to save time which could be spent on patient care.

Barry Cotton, head of imaging, said: “Before SRC deployed the system we had over 1000 reports awaiting transcription. Once the speech recognition system was in place we managed to clear the backlog in two weeks and the software has ensured typing backlogs haven’t built up again.”

Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional v9 connects straight to a user’s PC and can create documents at speeds of up to 150 words per minute.

Cotton added: “The reduced backlog ensures that reports and urgent diagnosis and treatments can be delivered without unnecessary delays. Document turnaround times are now immediate thanks to the software, rather than taking days.”

The deployment follows a successful pilot, which encouraged the trust that the software was worth investing in.

SRC says the pilot “highlighted the system’s ability to improve document turnaround times and reduce typing costs by automatically creating documents from spoken words and commands.”

All staff in the radiology department have been trained to use the new speech recognition system.

Cotton said: “The training definitely helped ensure staff were up and running quickly. With new software there’s always a slight worry with how it will be accepted. It was good to know that SRC were always on hand to help and support us and they really broke the training down into easily digestible sections.”

The trust say the system has streamlined the x-ray reporting process, increased efficiency over the existing digital dictation , system, reduced costs and improved turnaround times considerably. The digital dictation application remains in functional use and a useful back up in certain clinical situations, and for locum/rotational staff.