Improving patient care and workflow efficiency with speech recognition technology

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The healthcare industry is grappling with the challenge of balancing patient care with administrative duties, such as documenting crucial patient information and composing referral letters, all of which impact clinician burnout and the overall quality of care. Burnout affects many people at once and is an organisational problem that interferes with providing high quality healthcare and impacts employee turnover and intention to leave. 

Some additional factors that impact burnout include inflexible schedules, inefficient electronic medical records, and lack of administrative support. Workers left the healthcare industry in droves during the pandemic, citing low pay and burnout. Nationwide, hospitals competed for contract workers to fill the void, driving up expenses.

More than 9,000 healthcare professionals were studied by the Australian Medical Association during the pandemic, and it was shown that 57% of the workforce had depression, 59% had anxiety, and 71% had moderate to severe burnout. To alleviate this burden, clinicians are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence solutions to streamline documentation processes and lighten the ever-growing to-do list clinicians carry. 

One notable example is the Sunshine Coast Health Service (SCHS) in Australia, which sought to enhance patient care transfer processes and alleviate the workload on clinicians and support staff. With the introduction of AI-driven transcription solutions, SCHS became the first healthcare organisation in Australia to implement AI-enabled speech-to-text transcription. This adoption resulted in notable improvements in outpatient letter processing and overall turnaround times for communicating hospital-delivered care.

The integration of front-end speech recognition technology, such as 3M™ M*Modal Fluency Direct, enables clinicians to dictate patient information directly into electronic medical records or letters, significantly reducing typing time. Previously, the letter templating process consumed considerable time for clinicians or transcriptionist teams. However, AI-enabled technology streamlines this process, allowing clinicians to create commonly used letter templates more efficiently, reducing time spent on patient letters. 

SCHS has integrated 3M™ M*Modal Fluency Flex into its workflow, enabling clinicians to seamlessly document, review, and sign across multiple platforms. This empowers clinicians to create documents that align with their natural workflows, optimising efficiency and patient care. With this flexibility, clinicians can dedicate more time to direct patient interaction, reducing administrative burdens and enhancing the overall quality of care. 

As more healthcare organisations globally embrace AI-driven technologies, patients can anticipate enhanced care delivery and better utilisation of clinicians’ time. However, while these advancements offer promising solutions to administrative challenges, their successful integration requires careful consideration and adaptation to individual healthcare settings.

Discover how SCHS transformed its documentation workflow experience for clinical and IT teams across the organisation with Solventum’s AI-powered speech recognition and adoption services.

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