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It is undoubtedly a buoyant time within the Healthcare Technology markets, particularly around the vision of Electronic Patient Records (EPR) and Electronic Document Management Systems.

Many of our Trust and Board clients continue to design and work with projects that will facilitate the introduction of EPR as the NHS move towards paperless working as part of the 2018 edict in legislation around patient records. Our customers comprehend the practical benefits and limitations of EPR, with which national NHS Trusts expect to reap significant advantages; patient care and safety elements can be enhanced and improved and the Clinicians, Secretaries, Nursing Teams, Allied Health Professionals and other Medical Professionals will be able to engage with EPR to provide significant financial and time advantages for hospitals.

However, our experience has shown that EPR is not the Holy Grail that it appears to be. Whilst it will assist in processes and replace medical systems that are supported by information management and technology departments, these systems will not provide a replacement to every procedure and can, very often, make processes worse. An example is the ability to create electronic content; our own WinVoicePro is specifically designed with over 6 years of collaboration with the NHS and a minimum of two releases therein – meaning it is twelve versions further advanced in the provision of minute 1% improvements than the clinical correspondence electronic form and data capture processes found in Hospitals. The significant contribution of 25,000 user’s input into this application means that WinVoicePro is more intuitive than any electronic patient record’s attempt to create a letter for a clinical professional.

The skill to interface our application through electronic sending methods is a factor that is traditionally difficult for EPRs; an ability that both enhances the process and provides measurable six-figure savings directly from the administrative reduction of letter sending and printing.

Naturally, EPR vendors are making an entrance into data capture and letter production developments but do not understand the advanced workflows required by multi-disciplinary teams – even between senior and junior clinicians – and not forgetting the critical role of the secretary to interpret, transcribe, edit, verify, format and proof clinician’s requests and instructions to ensure a resulting concise output of letter or report.

Whilst we have no doubt that EPRs will remain successful and will give Trusts and Boards the ability to enhance productivity, they additionally have to offer electronic content that is created at a moment’s notice – as close as possible to the point of care – a formidable challenge that requires sector experience and technology familiarity – a trait of the WinVoicePro application.

We have engaged in a series of EPR projects with a number of Trusts; many want to be left to assess findings and some are already returning with the realisation that the EPR route will not fulfil all their requirements. The WinVoicePro application is designed to enhance the EPR process without necessarily being visible to the Clinician and the capability of remote-start – providing status input to drive the next workflow item from an EPR into our application – is critical, meaning that WinVoicePro is already well-configured in providing that functionality to sites and providing huge integration opportunities for multiple systems.

Speech Recognition can also assist the EPR process, but it needs the training and expertise of a specific provider to enhance usability and ultimate effectiveness. In order that current systems can maximise use of this technology the dynamics of a speech recognition engine, integrated working practices and choice of available products need to be identified; Voice Technologies is sector renowned for high-profile voice recognition developments and is already implementing significant 3rd party integrations as well as their own.

Currently, our development team are collaborating with Lorenzo to provide Trust-targeted voice recognition applications; allowing staff to vacate their keyboard and use their voice – the quickest way to input data – within the electronic patient record.

Why stop there? One suggestion is to use speech technology in all healthcare applications– not limited to PCs but also combining Mobile devices to the closest possible points of care.  Voice Technologies has an unrivalled national expertise in providing workflow, digital dictation and speech recognition technologies which are designed to be used and integrated as the future of healthcare envisions.