Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has implemented a digital dictation system to cover 1,000 users across five hospitals on two campuses.
The implementation of the BigHand digital dictation workflow system may be one of the biggest roll outs of digital dictation technology in the NHS, and the company claims it has allowed the trust to achieve a 10-25% improvement in document turn-around time.
David Whitham, informatics director at the trust, said the emergency admissions unit and had seen particular benefits, with digital dictation streamlining the production of discharge summaries and improving turn-around times.
But other specialties had also seen benefits. “It is now common practice for consultants to dictate letters straight after seeing patients rather than all at the end of clinic,” he said.
“Secretaries are therefore able to in many cases to transcribe immediately following each attendance, ensuring documentation is ready for clinician sign-off at the end of clinic.
“Acute medicine has also benefited from the ability to move dictations between secretarial groups across two of the trust’s sites, again helping to maximise the efficiency of secretarial staff time.”
Before implementing BigHand, the trust was using analogue tapes, which could be lost or corrupted. The new system allows clinicians to submit dictations directly into the trust’s workflow systems, enabling secretaries to identify urgent reports and plan their workload more efficiently.