Princess Alexandra Hospital Increases Efficiency & Reduces Overtime Costs by Decreasing the Document Back-Log to Zero with BigHand Voice Productivity Software

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A 40% increase in productivity has enabled the hospital to provide an efficient service to Oncology patients

“We measured the KPI of words typed, which averaged 10,000 words per week, per secretary, with the old system. We were delighted when the figures came back at 14,000 words per week with BigHand digital dictation. This is an increase of 40% in productivity

BigHand, the leading voice productivity vendor, supporting over 146,000 professionals globally, today announced Princess Alexandra Hospital(PAH), a major tertiary hospital based in Queensland, has successfully upgraded its first generation dictation equipment in Oncology with the latest BigHand Voice Productivity technology. The Oncology facility was first to implement BigHand with teams already reporting major reductions in the back-log of dictations and associated documents, some from 7 days to zero. This has greatly reduced overtime costs as secretarial productivity has increased by 40%, measured by number of words they are able to output per week.

In September 2011, the PAH Oncology facility rolled out BigHand digital dictation to its two departments at Mater Hospital and PAH. BigHand was rolled-out to an initial 54 authors and 18 support staff, with the intention to standardise a single dictation platform across the hospital and the wider Metro South district.

PAH recognised a need to replace its mixed dictation environment of tapes and standalone digital devices in Oncology with an enterprise level voice workflow system that would allow them to easily create, track, transcribe and manage workloads centrally, as well as allowing them to leverage additional options such as speech recognition, smartphone-based dictation and multi-step approval workflows. The current system, using mostly analogue tapes, presented many issues.

Cameron Ballantine, Assistant Director of District Technology Services at PAH comments:

“Prompt access to information is crucial for providing timely treatment to patients, and the old tape dictation system was producing low quality audio which secretaries found time consuming to transcribe. Additionally, more time was wasted in the physical transporting of the tapes to the secretaries and sharing resources between the two facilities meant that delays at each stage of the administration process further compounded delays in the delivery of information to patients regarding their treatment plans.

Since the implementation of BigHand we have already been able to reduce overtime expenses associated with managing the dictation back-log. The savings have been invested into direct clinical care, focused on improving clinical outcomes."

Cameron continues: “BigHand came out on top due to both functionality and value proposition. Medical secretaries can now share work easily between the two hospital locations, regardless of where the typist is located. Also the wider functionality of smartphone and speech recognition is something our doctors are interested in, and is something we are currently looking into.”

Wil Wentholt, the Project Manager at PAH who oversaw the implementation, comments on the efficiency gains:

“We were astounded to see the BigHand project go so well so quickly. An early benefits analysis has already reported that the back-log of dictations has been reduced from 7 days to zero in some teams. We also measured the KPI of words typed, which averaged 10,000 words per week, per secretary, with the old system. We were delighted when the figures came back at 14,000 words per week with BigHand digital dictation. This is an increase of 40% in productivity.”

Cameron Ballantine concludes: “The BigHand implementation was a fantastic success on many levels. Management are delighted with the efficiency gains and cost savings, and we have had fantastic feedback from the doctors and secretarial staff commenting that the system is very intuitive and easy to use, and more importantly saves them time.

The next phase of the implementation is to look into utilising BigHand’s advanced functionality such as speech recognition and smartphone capabilities, which the doctors have been pushing for.”


About BigHand
The BigHand Group supports over 146,000 healthcare and legal professionals globally, across 1,400 organisations, and is based out of Sydney, London, Chicago and Toronto. BigHand is a Microsoft Gold Partner, BlackBerry ISV Partner, and was voted Australasian Legal Business Magazine’s Dictation & Transcription ‘Service Provider of the Year’ for 2010, North American ‘Dictation System of the Year’ at the 7th Annual Law Technology News (LTN) Awards in 2009, and 'Mobile Product of the Year' at the UK CNet Business Technology Awards 2008. Further info is available at

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Lauren Evans
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