Ulrike Oswald (Digital Marketing & Content Strategy Manager - Nuance Healthcare Solutions Marketing) created a blog post last year we wanted to share with you. Her insights into the current state of GP practices and discussion with a GP is below.
"GP practices are clearly busier than they have ever been and it’s not just the GPs who bear the brunt. Practice secretaries, administration staff and practice managers are all under pressure.
I was recently in conversation with Dr. Ivan Camphor, Senior Partner at Heatherlands Medical Centre in Wirral about workload. It didn’t take long for him to mention research from the Universities of Oxford and Bristol published in The Lancet which found that workloads in general practice have increased by 16 per cent over the past seven years.
The BMA's Urgent Prescription for General Practice calls for a safe manageable workload and more time with patients. NHS England has recognised the need for action to address GPs' workload with a three-year £30m 'Time to Care' development programme, which will support the release of up to 10% of the GPs' time.
So what does this pressure feel like for the practicing GP?
During our conversation I received confirmation of what is no news to any GP: he was constantly being bombarded by letters, lab reports and NHS eReferrals. However, this practice has found a solution which he says he could no longer do without. Dr. Camphor is using speech recognition software and the benefits are clear.
The power of speech recognition technology
NHS eReferrals are done while the patient is with him in consultation – using a microphone to speak directly into the practice system (EMIS Web). Patients can add information there and then. He says they walk away having had a good consultation. They know that not only has the referral been done, but all the information they wanted to include has been captured. It also means this practice is meeting the requirement to make full and contemporaneous records.
This GP also uses it for administration tasks such as filling in common templates for insurance reports and also alongside his Outlook to send and receive emails. In fact his practice work is so much easier that he looks forward to working with it because of the significant difference it has made.
So, what are the benefits of using speech to text technology?
Perhaps the single most important benefit is the time that is saved by using speech recognition software and this in turn has reduced his stress levels. In the case of Dr. Camphor he estimated that it saves around two minutes for every 10 minutes of consultation. The time saving comes from turning a time consuming exercise such as recording blood pressure into one that takes seconds. All he has to do is simply say “check BP” and the system brings up a Read code box ready for the entry to be added by voice. In a ten hour day this time saving equates to two hours. This means he can turn his attention towards the patient and it becomes much more of a holistic consultation.
Spend more time on patients
As well as helping to ensure additional patient information is recorded to maximise Quality and Outcome Framework (QOF) points, it also means he requires less support from secretarial staff. Although my discussion partner acknowledges moving away from traditional tasks was not easy to begin with, the practice’s secretarial staff now have more time to help out with calls and recalls for patient appointments as well as other administrative tasks around chronic disease management.
It is easy to get started
Having used the software myself I can also agree about one further aspect – it is fast and easy to install. Yes, you have to train it up, but once you have done this it becomes easy to use and above all is accurate. So it’s good to have found another convert to this better way of working."