TalkingPoint helps improve patient communication channels at Oxfordshire general practice.

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In the same month that the health service ombudsman has described patient communication as "careless", "insincere" and "unclear” and the source of rising complaints against the NHS in England, one practice in Banbury is making dramatic improvements in patient communication through the use of TalkingPoint’s speech recognition workflow. Commenting on the advantages, Dr Erfan Javaheri says: “What is certain is that the quality and accuracy of our communication is far better, and the fact that we as GPs have the control to produce them in more detail, just as quickly as a traditional standard letter, goes a long way to improving patient experiences in the process”.

TalkingPoint’s speech recognition workflow solution has provided GPs at West Bar Surgery, Banbury, with additional advantages when it comes to improving standards and workflows. Accuracy and detail. Two features that are allowing the surgery to better communicate with their patients and improve patient care.

With over 18,000 patients, this large modern practice produces approximately 1,000 letters a month, which traditionally had been achieved through conventional digital dictation and transcription. Led by a four strong secretarial team, the volume of work was achieved but it was felt that delays were common place when factoring in natural occurrences of holidays or sickness - a better way of working was needed going forward.

The installation was completed in September, with all user training completed mid November. The introduction of TalkingPoint has immediately streamlined and improved the efficiency of the referral and patient communication processes. For the first time, partners and GPs are almost entirely responsible for implementing the process improvement through the immediacy of voice recognition reporting, cutting out the movement of documents backward and forward between GP and secretary that is naturally involved in the digital dictation/transcription process. Not only does this make for a more efficient use of time for both GPs and secretaries, but members of the Practice have immediately seen benefits in terms of less stress, a better working experience and a dramatic improvement in patient communication standards.

Commenting on the advantages, Dr Erfan Javaheri said: “At this early stage of transition we may not be able to prove that certain criteria such as ‘time to referral’ has improved through TalkingPoint. What is certain, is that letter productivity can be achieved with far less stress, the quality and accuracy of our communication is far better, and the fact that we as GPs have the control to produce them in more detail, just as quickly as a traditional standard letter, goes a long way to improving patient experiences in the process”.

Prior to installing the voice recognition system, staff were aware that many standardised letters, without personalised information, were being issued to patients and causing unnecessary alarm or concern. Through the use of voice recognition, control is with the G.P immediately and is allowing G.Ps at West Bar to provide more detail to patient letters quickly and easily. An improvement which will continue to develop as they use the template, commands and shortcut abilities built into TalkingPoint to fast track administrative procedures at a high standard.

Speaking out on the advantages, Vicky Bentley, PA at the surgery said: “We were certainly sceptical at first but very quickly saw that we could achieve high quality work with less effort. The technology helps us to keep on top of our workload in a more efficient way. I wouldn’t say it necessarily allows us to do more, but with TalkingPoint it has allowed us access to an easier, more efficient system, and frees us up to experience a more varied role than purely as a dictation typist”.

Supporting the change in job role for the secretaries has also been a very positive factor in the implementation of TalkingPoint. By alleviating the secretaries’ digital dictation/transcription workload, they have become PAs rather than typists and can support the GPs in a more varied way, which in turn is helping free up the GPs from administrative procedures. Another good form of streamlining to improve productivity and quality of work.

Summing up Malcolm Grant, M.D at TalkingPoint said: “We have been delighted to see the immediate improvements for West Bar Surgery through the removal of the transcription process and its inherent time delay and potential for error, and we will continue to work with them to improve the usefulness of the system through training and technical support. TalkingPoint’s easy to use system and workflow management capability makes adoption simple for medical environments and without question is a cost effective tool to drive up standards and improve working practices”.

For further information on GHG Software Developments Limited or TalkingPoint please log onto http://www.talkingpoint.uk.com or telephone: 01908 366169.

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Philippa Bevan
philippa@accelerate-associates.co.uk
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