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COVID-19 has forced most health-care teams to change the way they operate. One example is the 3sHealth self-edit dictation training team and the clinicians they work together with. Fortunately, both the training team and the clinicians have noticed benefits from training at a physical distance. These benefits include scheduling flexibility, virtual training, and the ability to train more clinicians faster.
Self-edit dictation enables Saskatchewan clinicians to dictate and edit patient care reports in one real-time step, immediately distributing and saving the report to the electronic health record. Using this technology gives other health-care providers on the patient’s care team access to electronic patient reports in much less time.
Implementing self-edit dictation is one of 3sHealth’s strategic priorities.
“Initially, it seemed like the COVID-19 measures were going to stall our implementation plan,” says Julie Johnson, 3sHealth’s Director of Provincial Dictation and Transcription Services. “The pandemic did affect training at first. Yet, the self-edit training team was able to shift to virtual training and continue to work with physicians in spite of the changes unfolding in the health-care environment due to the pandemic.”
Training sessions with interested clinicians are still one-on-one, but they are now held virtually on WebEx. Trainers and participants share their screens back and forth while they discuss the new technology. Adopting virtual training due to pandemic measures has allowed trainers to work with many more clinicians than before because they can offer training in multiple Saskatchewan locations on the same day. Previously, trainers would travel to work with clinicians onsite. Now, 3sHealth trains physicians across the province without travelling a kilometre.
“The new methods we needed to implement have actually been more effective and efficient than before,” says Johnson. “It seems that, sometimes, necessity is the mother of invention.”
Clinicians have noted that they are satisfied with this method. At the end of each session, the 3sHealth training team surveyed the clinicians they trained. All responded positively, with three saying they were satisfied and 32 very satisfied with the training. One other benefit clinicians noted is that rescheduling is easy for both parties if they are called away to an urgent medical matter.
“I found the self-edit technology very simple to use. It made very few mistakes right out of the gate,” says Dr. Sinisa Zerajic, a physician at Lakeside Medical Clinic and West Winds Primary Health Centre in Saskatoon. “The virtual training was very helpful and it provided me with the basic tools to continue using the software and to customize it based on my own needs. I left the training session feeling excited to use this software in my practice.”
Self-edit dictation is getting results with several Regina physicians that the training team recently onboarded. Previously, medical transcriptionists would edit physician-dictated reports that voice-recognition software generates. The medical transcriptionist would then send the report where it needed to go. With self-edit dictation training, physicians can dictate, edit, and distribute their reports immediately, enabling a more efficient workflow. The team measured 10 reports pre- and post-self-edit dictation training that the physicians would complete. The results, ranging from a 45 to a 98 per cent decrease in the average completion time, are in the table below:
“I’m proud of how both trainers and clinicians have pivoted during these extraordinary times,” says Keith Phelps, 3sHealth’s Vice-president of Clinical Support and Customer Services. “Their efforts show the importance of continuing this initiative for patients.”
3sHealth has partnered with the Saskatchewan Medical Association and the Saskatchewan Health Authority to introduce self-edit dictation. The Saskatchewan Medical Association has funded this initiative through the electronic medical record (EMR) program to extend the service to private clinics with end-to-end support of the software and hardware.
If you would like to use self-edit dictation, email SelfEdit.Dictation@3sHealth.ca to be added to a list of interested physicians.