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Coming together to grow as a team and improve service for patients

Jul 18, 2018

Sometimes the in-person approach is best. Especially when you’re trying to strengthen bonds and build relationships.

That’s why this past June our provincial team of medical transcriptionists came together in a way they had never done before. At two separate events (one in Saskatoon, the other in Regina), transcriptionists from every corner of the province had the opportunity to meet one another face-to-face and connect. For many, it was the first time they had met.

“We had fantastic turnout both days and there was such good energy in the room,” said Carady Rennie, one of two managers of the Provincial Dictation and Transcription Service. “We talked about quality service and spent some time defining what that looks like for us as a team. We also came up with a whole bunch of ideas on how to continually refine and further improve the service for the benefit of patients.”

Day one attendees

“It was a great day to establish connections and network ideas with fellow transcriptionists who all share the same passion for work as I do,” said Dayna Lys, a transcriptionist from Regina. “Being able to have our own personal input into how the provincial transcription system works and to improve it, and to get to put faces to names of all my new provincial co-workers was fantastic!”

A long and winding road

The provincial team started to come together back in the spring of 2016. By the end of 2017, each of the former health regions had formally transitioned to the provincial service.

“We started to become a provincial team after the first two regions had transitioned,” explained Rennie. “And once the last region joined the service, we had truly become a provincial team of talented medical transcriptionists.”

With each passing month, the connections between team members has been growing stronger and stronger, notes Rennie.

“As a team, we’ve improved our quality assurance checks on all transcribed reports, and we’re sharing work between locations and health facilities. This event was about reflecting on those successes and seeing where we might be able to take things to the next level.”

Bridging the distance

According to Lorne Shiplack, the second manager of the Provincial Dictation and Transcription Service, the team is quite spread out geographically and in many different centres across the province.

Day two attendees

“As a result, we don’t get to see one another face-to-face as much as we would like. So we decided to change that. We set aside some time to come together in order to build community and collaboration amongst team members. And I think we were very successful on both fronts.”

“The day was a fantastic opportunity to network with fellow transcriptionists and the 3sHealth team to brainstorm problems and solutions to create plans for moving forward as a team,” said Sabrina Empey, a transcriptionist in Swift Current.

“The day was invaluable. We collected ideas in a safe, encouraging environment to ensure patient documents are of the highest quality and are delivered in a timely manner,” said Claire Charpentier, Quality Assurance Coordinator in Saskatoon. “3sHealth is to be commended on this well-organized day and their support.”

“I truly feel that I am working with 3sHealth, not for them!” said Carla Dishko, a transcriptionist in Saskatoon with the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency. “There is nothing better than being on a team!”

Highlights and next steps

The teams identified current areas of strength in the provincial service, which include:

  • Improved turnaround times on transcribed reports through a provincial pool of work;
  • The use of standardized templates and processes; and
  • The ever-improving quality of dictated reports into one provincial system.

Some of the ideas teams came up with in terms of improving service delivery include:

  • Strengthening quality assurance feedback;
  • Working with physicians and other clinicians who dictate to improve quality and accuracy;
  • Having more ways for medical transcriptionists to connect with one another as members of the same team;
  • Implementing additional training and roll out other supports and resources to help medical transcriptionists excel in their duties; and
  • Looking at new ways to enhance current approaches to report distribution.

Over the next number of months, the provincial transcription services team will delve further into many of these ideas to explore them further, and will begin implementing many potential enhancements for the benefit of patients and families.

“Both our north and south team members saw incredible value in these events,” said Shiplack. “That’s why we will be doing more of these types of events on a go-forward basis.”

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