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Posted on September 01, 2017

Upgrading to digital dictation improves workflow, efficiency and patient service at Carolside Medical Centre


To replace frequently inaudible analogue dictations with an efficient, user-friendly digital system. 


A combination of digital dictation software and hardware makes the workflow faster and more efficient.


  • Clear dictation enhances accuracy and results in higher levels of productivity
  • Integrates with other IT systems
  • Faster communications to patients.
“We considered upgrading from analogue to digital dictation for years and had the confidence to take the decision when we found the right supplier, support and price from Voice Technologies.” 
Avril Houston, Practice Manager, Carolside Medical Centre, Glasgow


Carolside Medical Centre provides General Practitioner (GP) services plus a wide range of specialist clinics and non-NHS services to more than 8,200 people across the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region.

The Centre employs nine members of staff – eight GPs and one secretary. Until 2017, staff used an analogue dictation process that involved the GPs recording dictations onto tapes which they handed-over to the secretary. Using a desktop machine, the secretary played back and typed up the dictations before sending out the document. However, recordings were frequently inaudible and needed to be clarified with the relevant GP before they could be typed up. In some cases, dictations had to be repeated. Both issues increased the time spent on transcription. Prioritisation was also a difficult issue as dictations could not be classified as urgent or non-urgent referrals.

There was dissatisfaction with the process at the Centre as it frequently led to patients waiting longer than necessary for correspondence. It also encroached on resource time which could be better spent on core tasks.

The Centre invited suppliers to propose a solution to the issues they were experiencing and approached Voice Technologies after we were recommended by a neighbouring medical practice. Our proposal was chosen because it provided a solution to the negative issues the staff had been experiencing and was competitively priced. 

Easy to implement, easy to use 

Voice Technologies implemented the digital dictation system in April 2017. It comprises Olympus DR2100 RecMics (professional desktop dictation microphones), an Olympus AS7000 transcription kit and Olympus Dictation Management System (ODMS) software.

The new hardware and software was introduced without any disruption to the Centre’s existing IT systems thanks to our years of experience and in-house software expertise.

The microphones now used by the GPs to record their dictations feature intuitive push button operation and low-noise directional microphones engineered to deliver high audio quality for dictation. They reduce background noise with a high signal-to-noise ratio, have a windscreen to reduce breath noise and shock absorbers to reduce friction noise during operation to guarantee ultra-clear dictation recordings. The result is clear, accurate recordings that enable the secretary to type dictations without having to take time to go back to the author for clarification.
The transcription kit used by the secretary – headset, footswitch and professional transcription software – was selected because it speeds up transcription and clearly shows which dictations are urgent, allowing documents to be to prioritised appropriately.

The user-friendly ODMS software enables staff to effectively manage and share dictation files and documents. Automatic 256-bit AES file encryption boosts security, and individual files or entire folders can be password protected.

Our project team installed the system on-site and provided full training so that staff were confident in using the new system from day one. We continue to provide the Centre with ongoing support to ensure the smooth running of the system.

The Centre’s investment in digital dictation benefits patients by making a significant reduction in the turnaround time for correspondence. The Practice Manager has reported a reduction in the average turnaround time of 50%.