Typing up dictation notes is time-consuming and can demand a dedicated workforce – and for surgeries with a large patient list this can be particularly troublesome. Practice manager Stan Newington explains how his practice took up GP transcription specialist ScribeForce's offer of a free month's service – and how this led to improved productivity and better patient service.
Changes in technology and other practices in recent years have meant the medical secretary's role in general practice has changed beyond recognition. Having recognised this some time ago, we replaced some medical secretary posts in our practice with staff who could support the typing role where necessary, but did not have this as their primary function. We now have just one, part-time, dedicated practice typist, serving a list in excess of 12,000 patients.
Despite organisational changes, our main source of letter generation continued to be tape recordings, which would arrive for typing at random intervals. Problems with the system were numerous, but our priority was to improve patient service by a dramatic improvement in turnaround time for letters – at that time an average of eight days for routine items. With some uncertainty over longterm requirements, we did not wish to increase staff, but we already faced the difficulties that arose when staff were on leave or off sick. Neither overtime nor the employment of agency staff had proved to be satisfactory, and were discounted as long-term solutions. We self-imposed a target, regardless of our staffing situation, consistently to dispatch all routine letters within 48 hours of the original dictation.
To do this, we needed a reliable, costeffective, digital dictation system with high-quality recording and management control systems, plus an ability to outsource transcription services for any work that we could not complete the same day.This work would need to be returned to us within 24 hours. We did not want fixed monthly costs or agreed volumes for such a service, just an on-demand service with a cost-effective pay-as-you-use agreement.
Fortunately, we spotted an advertisement for a company that appeared to meet all our requirements – ScribeForce. It had all the appropriate credentials, being a UKbased, ISO-certified company specialising in GP services. It offered a web-based payas-you-go transcription service, as well as a range of inhouse digital dictation workflow solutions, so we invited ScribeForce to demonstrate it. Practice managers are all too aware that a supplier's performance often falls well short of that promised at their sales pitch, but Scribeforce's offer of a monthlong, completely free, no-obligation trial was too good an opportunity to pass up.
The system proved an instant success. The quality and timely arrival of dictation improved productivity and workflow dramatically, and a look at the PC screen quickly showed what volume of work was outstanding, so we could decide what, if any, needed to be sent for transcription.
Transcription costs are competitive, and we were pleasantly surprised by the speed, quality and accuracy of work coming back Typing up dictation notes is time-consuming and can demand a dedicated workforce – and for surgeries with a large patient list this can be particularly troublesome.
Practice manager Stan Newington explains how his practice took up GP transcription specialist ScribeForce's offer of a free month's service – and how this led to improved productivity and better patient service from ScribeForce, which has remained the case since we fully implemented the system over a year ago. We have now had no problems covering leave or coping with a recent spell of long-term sickness, and, excluding a couple of days with technical glitches, we have consistently met our 48-hour target.
ScribeForce has simply delivered exactly what it promised and, in doing so, removed many problems and allowed us to concentrate on other areas.
Mr Stan Newington is a practice manager at the Newton Place Surgery in Faversham, Kent.
For more information on ScribeForce,
please contact Steve Taylor at:
Suite B, New City Chambers
36 Wood Street
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T 0845 686 0057
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