Any discussion of healthcare is tied to the seemingly perennial discussion of waiting lists. Patients are waiting longer than they should have to for the treatment they need – and this is nothing new. What’s different, particularly in mental health services and integrated/community care, is the scale and severity of the problem.
NHS England currently publishes waiting time data for talking therapies, young people with an eating disorder, and early intervention in psychosis. Waiting lists across all these areas continue to grow. However, the real scale of the issue is likely to be under-reported. So-called hidden waiting lists between referral and second appointment cause around 12% of mental health cases to wait longer than six months. Demand outpaces the resources available – and adding more resources in terms of people, expertise, and technology will be a long, arduous process.
The answer isn’t in waiting for the resources to come, or leaving already strained emergency services to pick up the slack. There’s a driving, urgent need for efficiency – and doing more with the resources that are at hand and already available.
The importance of efficiency and technology adoption
The reality of mental health means that comprehensive notes are key to good patient outcomes. Cases are often complex and accurate information needs to be shared across mental health professionals (MHPs) and integrated/community care providers. When it comes to detailed reporting, more is always more.
However, this reporting burden is a significant drain on resources – namely, the people who are doing the reporting. Transforming the way mental health services are provided – and the experience of patients – is only possible when these day-to-day processes are faster and more flexible, without compromising on accuracy or completeness.
Technology has a role to play. A more digital approach to reporting helps to keep records safe, while potentially streamlining how MHPs work and increasing their agility.
Similar approaches have already been taken in areas like access to primary care, with mixed success. While patient access can be improved through initiatives like digital phone systems, online messaging and modern triage, the reality rarely meets the potential. An NHSE survey, reported by the Health Service Journal, estimates that just 10-15% of GP practices are using all three access tools.
Even where the most appropriate technology has been identified and recommended by NHS England, there is a significant gap in adoption.
Taking an MHP-centric approach to change
Conventionally, new technology in healthcare (in the form of computer hardware, digitalization, IT systems, cloud-computing, patient data reporting and recording, PACS, clinical software applications, and artificial intelligence) has been driven from the top down. NHS Trusts, private hospitals and healthcare service leaders select and deploy what they hope users will adopt fully. The problem is that the real needs of users – in this case, mental health professionals (MHPs) – are a secondary consideration.
We believe a more effective approach is one where a chosen tech solution mirrors and supports the way users/people want to work, rather than asking them to adapt to the way solutions work. This is only possible when you take into account the diverse needs, preferences and reporting processes of those individuals, providing adequate training and support. Automating certain tasks is another powerful way to support those efficiency gains. And setting clear expectations can help to avoid an overwhelming amount of change. Beyond choosing technology that’s fit for purpose, considering all these factors ensures change is and smooth and successful.
Speech recognition is a technology designed to feel natural and easy to use. By definition, it is more intuitive than any manual input could ever be. As a result, speech recognition can play a vital role in driving the adoption of a vast range of new patient data-focussed technology, including PAS, HIS and EPR systems.
When patient data is manually transcribed from one system to another, or from hurried notes into a more structured digital format, the workload of mental health professionals is increased, not improved. At the same time, these manual processes increase the risk of errors, inaccuracies, and privacy breaches involving mishandled or misplaced files. Efficiency is lost.
Speech is significantly faster than typing and, consequently, the biggest benefits of speech recognition are unlocked when it is integrated into the clinical systems that healthcare professionals already use.
How Augnito empowers MHPs
Augnito is a cloud-hosted, AI-enhanced clinical speech recognition solution that can be used to integrate speech and dictation into existing clinical workflows and applications. By bringing speech to critical technologies like an EPR system, Augnito removes the friction of typing and its time drain on users, helping to improve the adoption of digital workflows.
With a comprehensive set of user options including a desktop, browser and mobile app, Augnito allows for diagnostic reports and patient notes to be dictated from anywhere. Augnito is also easy to deploy and integrate – with providers being able to integrate into their clinical systems in as little as 48 hours and on average around 10-12 weeks.
Finally, Augnito provides a strong return on investment, not just with competitive licensing costs, but the innate ability to increase adoption rates for other clinical systems. In this sense, Augnito doesn’t just deliver value by making intuitive speech recognition available – it actively drives more value from under-used clinical technology that healthcare organisations already have.
In the words of Scribetech’s Director of Global Expansion “We are not adapting the way humans communicate with computers, but adapting the way computers communicate with humans.”
Learn more about Augnito
In just 24 months, Augnito speech recognition technology has helped drive EPR adoption through its growing subscription list of 13,500+ medical professionals across 355 hospitals, NHS Trusts, and 24 reseller, integration and radiology partners in UK, USA, Canada, India, the Middle East and APAC. Request a demo to try Augnito Spectra to see how it can help you.