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Seamless integration with Medisec

The target for acute Trusts to deliver discharge summaries are a tight but achievable 72 hours. However, Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Foundation Trust Hospital decided to look in more detail at how this could be reduced to 24 hours.

An integrated system comprised of TalkingPoint digital dictation and Medisec was identified as the ideal solution.

Julie Ekins, Service Improvement Manager at the Trust, explains: “Part of the evaluation process was not simply to consider how to hit the discharge summary 24hr target, but also how to work more closely with primary care providers to provide a better service in terms of more timely and accurate information to GPs."

Julie continued: “The Trust agreed to a local target to deliver all outpatient clinical letters to Doncaster GPs within 24hrs, sitting alongside the national target which just relates to discharge summaries. It quickly became clear that the only way to hit either target was to implement an electronic solution for both the creation and delivery of correspondence.”

With a target agreed and a broad idea of the type of system required to meet that target, the Trust began searching for potential technology partners. Mark Norwood, Head of IT adds: “We were originally looking at both digital dictation software and document workflow solutions to improve communications between GPs and the Trust.”

While the individual benefits of such solutions were already clear, the project team identified that the greatest opportunity came when integrating the two systems to provide a true ‘start to finish’ electronic process. Mark continues: “The combined Medisec and TalkingPoint system brought together two tried and tested systems in one integrated electronic offer. It allows us to track progress from the point the dictation is captured, all the way to when it is delivered to the GP. It was developed in consultation with clinicians, service improvement manager, IT staff and GPs and we’ve never seen anything that brings all the different strands together into such a seamless solution before."

The consultant identifies the patient from the central Patient Administration System (PAS) and creates a dictation using the TalkingPoint software. This file then automatically appears in the relevant medical secretary’s workflow (without them having to search for it). When they open up the voice file, the system automatically downloads the most up-to-date patient information from the PAS (e.g. date of birth, address, NHS number and GP) into a letter template. The completed document is then forwarded to the consultant to review and sign off electronically.

Adds Mark: “With Medisec, everything is digitally tagged and therefore much faster to find and action. As letters are signed off electronically, there is no waiting for secretaries to wade through transcripts or for tapes to find their way around hospital departments.”

Even when use of the integrated system was still at an early stage, the response was strong, as Julie explains. “Initially we worked with consultants, doctors and secretaries in ENT to ensure the integrated solution is right, before we rolled it out to other areas of the Trust. So far the consultants are working well with the system and we’ve also had positive feedback from the secretaries.”

The system offers benefits across the board, as Julie describes: “It will enable the Trust to report accurate data. And at the moment, we can only manually monitor how long it takes to create letters. Once they’re in the post, we have no control over them. The new system puts us much more in control and helps us to improve both the timeliness and quality of our communications with GP practices.”


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