Centralized dictation system cures problems from Manitoba doctors

A centralized dictation system that stores digital audio files on an on-premises server is just what the doctor ordered for a small health centre in Winkler, Manitoba that was bent on reducing lost time due to delayed transcriptions.

The 60,000 or so patients that go to the Dr. C.W. Wiebe Centre (DCWW) in Winkler, Manitoba and the 27 physicians and four surgeons that work in the facility generate quite an amount of dictation work for the three medical transcibers that work in the centre.

Prior to the centre’s transition to a centralized dictation system set up for them in March this year by VTEX Voice Solutions Inc., a value added reseller based in Winnipeg, there were some challenges in keeping track of dictations sent over by physicians for transcription, according to Tim Wolfe, IT support administrator for the centre.

Doctors at the centre generally dictate contents of a referral or consultation letter for patients onto a voice recording system hooked up to the doctor’s computer, said Wolfe. Once the dictation is done, a file for that particular work is generated and loaded into the system. Transcribers can enter the system and pick out a file to transcribe.

“The problem with this system is that there was no way to identify to which patient the file belonged to until you opened the file,” said Wolfe. “This made it difficult to prioritize the transcription assignment.”

If doctors had special instructions regarding a dictation or wanted to put a “rush” order on it, the doctors would need to call or e-mail the transcription office, he said. “If a doctor forgets or fails to do this, the transcription could be delayed.”

Feature-rich vs. ease of use

The way Ryan Gaudet, president of Vtex sees it DCWW needed their dictation system to primarily deliver on two areas: ease of use and effectiveness.

“There are many systems out there that are feature-rich but I had a sense that the doctors want to keep it simple but effective,” he said. “This is a typical requirement for many businesses where many users can be technology shy.”

For this particular implementation, Gaudet said, he chose the Winscribe Digital Dictation system. “This New Zealand-based company offers a software package that is easy to manage and use making it ideal for organizations that have a small or single person IT shop.”

The Winscribe system, he said, also accepts various types of input devices and scales to support a growing organization as well as integration with mobile devices such as smartphones.

For the health centre, Vtex, paired the Winscribe system with the Directrec USB microphones developed by Olympus Imaging America Inc. “This is simple and reliable design that uses controls similar to ordinary microphones you would have seen hooked to a tape recorder,” Gaudet said.

This was important because they wanted to users to feel “familiar” with the technology, he said.

The Directrec devices are also robust units that can withstand the constant use. “Some units would be used in areas such as the radiology department where the units will be constantly on nearly 24-hours a day,” said Gaudet.

With the Winscribe system, doctors conduct their dictation as they used to do in the old system. But once they finish their dictation and press the “send” button, the file is immediately sent to the transcription department.

The file can be immediately identified and specific priority status can be assigned to the file.

Transcriptions and dictations also reside in an onsite central server which makes it easy for users to identify, track and retrieve a certain file.

“With this system, it is possible to load and transcribe dictations in 15 minutes or less,” said Wolfe of DCWW.

Cost effective

Gaudet said the Directrec mics cost around $269 per unit compared to competing products that go for about $350 each.

The health centre was also able to cut down on cost through the licencing model used by Winscribe.

Gaudet did not mention any specific figures, but he said the concurrent licencing model used by Winscribe was more economical compared to a per-seat license model offered by other brands.

Per-seat licences are based on the number of individual users who have access to a software. If a business purchases a per-seat licence for 50 people, only 50 individually named users can use the software program.

A concurrent licence is based on the number of simultaneous users regardless of which individuals they are. If a business purchases a concurrent licence for 50 users, only 50 users are allowed to use the program. If 50 people are logged onto the program, the 51st user will be blocked. But if one person logs off, another person can log on.

Nestor ArellanoNestor Arellano is a Senior Writer at ITBusiness.ca. Follow him on Twitter, read his blog, and join the IT Business Facebook Page.


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