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Benfield Park Medical Group

“Saving £10,000 a year with Speech Recognition”

Benfield Park Medical Group is a well-established 8,600 patient GP practice in Newcastle upon Tyne, with a history of trialling new technology to streamline processes and save precious NHS resources. “We trust its ability to enhance the level of service we provide both in the short and long term, provided you work with the right suppliers” says Jonathan McCutcheon, Practice Manager. He tells us more about the massive savings the practice was able to achieve since implementing Crescendo Dragon Speech Recognition on top of their existing DigiScribe-XL (Crescendo’s Digital Dictation) platform.

A solid base to build on

Benfield Park Medical Group first invested in Crescendo’s digital dictation and transcription technology in a bid to streamline and modernise its secretarial and administrative processes. “We investigated several suppliers at the time, only to find out that most of them offered partial solutions and did not meet our specific requirements. We found that no technology or service provision was remotely similar to Crescendo’s. Their software integrated seamlessly with our clinical system, the training and advice was organised and adapted to the needs of the practice and coming from the healthcare sector, Crescendo understands the way we work and the importance of workflow automation, reporting and information governance issues,” Jonathan comments.

DigiScribe-XL has yielded massive savings over the years, lightening the transcription burden and shrinking document turnaround for the benefit of patients. “Our GPs and trainee doctors just love the ability to dictate from any desktop PC within our main and branch site or from their Smartphones when visiting housebound patients. We also found the real-time, secure streaming of voice files and the powerful management console made the life of the secretarial team a whole lot easier,” Jonathan explains.

To lighten the workload even further all the while cutting costs, the surgery decided to trial the Dragon Speech Recognition software on top of their DigiDictate system. “This was easy as both products have been seamlessly integrated,” Jonathan adds.

Cost vs. savings: Figures speak for themselves

“Although there is some debate over the costs versus the benefits of Speech Recognition software, once we calculated the actual savings in terms of GP time and increased staffing efficiencies, Speech Recognition was a no brainer for us,” Jonathan notes.

Before implementing Dragon, the practice’s secretarial team used to spend 25 hours per week just on transcription tasks. This ratio went down to 5 hours per week once Dragon was installed, which translates into an 80% saving in staff time. “Speech Recognition allowed our practice to take the giant efficiency leap we had been eagerly expecting. When a temporary staff member returned to medical school, we didn’t have to replace the majority of hours within the team which saved us £10,419 a year. With the savings the technology brought along, the return on investment was as little as 6 months,” Jonathan says.

Zero impact on doctor/admin time

A chief complaint Jonathan would often hear is that training a Speech Recognition system takes time and impacts on the doctor’s workload. While training a profile only takes a few minutes, reaching optimal recognition rates for each doctor can take about a month. “But if you do it the right way, starting with back-end Speech Recognition, the impact on doctor time and workload will be minimal,” Jonathan explains.

With back-end Speech Recognition, the referral letters are sent to the Dragon system for transcription in the background and then sent to the secretarial team for correction rather than typing from scratch. Any corrections they make are saved in the profile, which learns and improves the results for the next time and so on.

The front-end mode has also been trialled with 2 GPs, who now have the choice to either direct their dictation to the secretarial team to complete or to finalise it themselves. Recognised text appears on screen as they speak and they can correct and sign it off right away. “One doctor is enjoying it so much that he now uses frontend Speech Recognition for the majority of consultations!” Jonathan comments. “The next step for us is to get all doctors on board and to extend voice commands to a broader range of applications such as the Microsoft suite.”

“All in all, we are extremely pleased with the synergy between Crescendo, Dragon and SystmOne and there is no doubt in my mind that integrated Speech Recognition is the new direction for practices eager to achieve significant efficiency savings in the new NHS,” Jonathan concludes.

Interested in Speech Recognition? Call us on 01932 789433 or email us