Nuance Communications has announced that Homerton University Hospital NHS Trust has adopted its Dragon Medical One cloud-based speech recognition technology for the hospital’s transcription service and clinical correspondence.

London-based Homerton University Hospital has staff based at 75 different sites across the borough of Hackney. The NHS Trust says it is using Nuance to try and tackle increasing administrative costs, as well as the slow turnaround time of clinical letters.

Nuance’s medical speech recognition technology enables clinicians to create patient records using just their voice. By using the software, the hospital has reduced the clinic letter turnaround time from 17 days to just two, while also saving over £150,000 a year on transcription expenditure, according to the company.

The Dragon Model One technology has allowed clinicians to enter notes into the electronic patient record at the point of care, speeding up the clinic letter process by giving patients a letter and sending an electronic copy to their GP before the patient leaves the clinic. This results in more personalised communication with patients and fewer missed appointments, Nuance said.

Homerton University Hospital head of clinical information systems Paul Adams said: “The Nuance Dragon Medical One speech recognition engine, utilising artificial intelligence, is incredibly fast and accurate, making life for our clinicians easier.

“We’ve seen considerable month-on-month cost savings as we replace our transcription services with front-end speech recognition and we’ve also reduced expenditure by not having to invest in additional hardware or recruit scarce and expensive technical resources to run the software day-to-day.

“Future-proofing such investments has always been critical to us. As we’ve deployed Nuance through the cloud, we will benefit from continuous updates and our clinicians will have instant access to, and can take advantage of, new features and enhancements as soon as they are released.”

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The improved process has also freed up the time of secretaries so they can focus on patient contact rather than typing a backlog of handwritten notes.

The cloud-based software-as-a-service product integrates directly into Homerton’s existing Cerner Millennium electronic patient records (EPR) software and is playing a key role in the hospital’s paperless working drive.

Nuance chief clinical information officer Dr Simon Wallace said: “Homerton plays a critical role in the local community, delivering care services both inside and outside of the hospital. Its staff are often on the move and it needed an improved workflow and process for developing patient documentation in a timely and accurate manner.”

He added: “We worked with the in-house training team to onboard health staff with Dragon Medical One, enabling healthcare staff to develop patient records instantaneously through their speech, build fuller and more accurate reports, as well as freeing up medical secretaries to enhance patient flow and communications.”