Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust is to roll out a digital dictation system to 500 users as part of plans to improve efficiency by eliminating waste from its patient pathways.

The trust piloted the digital dictation and voice recognition system supplied by SRC in its diabetes department, before committing to the wider deployment.

It found the pilot delivered a significant reduction in turn-around times, with these falling from around 51 hours to 29.5 hours. A spokesperson for SRC said the workflow capabilities of the system were responsible for most of the reduction.

Clinicians can mark dictations as urgent so they can be sent automatically to the most appropriate typist, who, in turn, receives information about how quickly the work is required. Royal Wolverhampton has put a 24 hour limit on distributing all patient correspondence, including discharge summaries to GPs.

Nina White, the trust’s service improvement manager and project lead, said: “The solution is extremely easy to use and allows further efficiencies to be generated in the future.

“Already, SRC is helping us to realise our 24 hour vision, as well as Department of Health targets for discharge summaries, providing us with a Lean way of producing documents.”

Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust is investing heavily in Lean processes, to improve efficiency and productivity. It has focused in particular on the 18 week referral to treatment time target.

The trust has mirrored its patient pathways with integrated digital technologies, to make sure they are linked up and to eliminate wasteful steps.

The new 24 hour turn-around time for patient correspondence fits into this wider project. The digital dictation system, which is based on WinScribe digital dictation technology, will be rolled out in four phases to clinicians in the trust’s 24 specialty departments.

As well as deploying WinScribe, SRC is providing project management, training, hardware including Philips desktop and portable recording devices, and ongoing support.

The trust did its procurement through the Healthcare Purchasing Consortium framework agreement won by SRC, which is open to all member trusts in the West Midlands area.

Chris Heart, chief executive or SRC said: “Royal Wolverhampton are a glowing example of how trusts can achieve a rapid return on investment and adapt their document creation processes to support the delivery of high quality care. We look forward to developing our relationship with them.”

Link: SRC