Above all else, healthcare is about people—the patients we care for and the people who deliver that care, from frontline staff to the senior leadership within an NHS Trust. Any technology is only as impactful as it is useful to those people on a day-to-day basis.

As we kick off a new year, NHS Trusts continue to face the same pressures that have been mounting since the pandemic and, in many cases, even earlier. There is continued pressure for NHS Trusts to meet government plans around patient outcomes, digitalisation, and innovation, but technology can often become an additional burden and a source of complexity.

As a mature technology now enriched by the power of artificial intelligence, smart speech recognition and transcription address the very real pain points felt by leaders across the NHS. Beginning a new series of posts on these roles and pain points, let’s look at some major questions, challenges and priorities faced by Chief Information Officers (CIO), Chief Clinical Information Officers (CCIO) and Chief Nursing Informatics Officers (CNIO)—and how speech can help.

Shared questions, pain points and benefits for technical leaders

While CIO, CCIO and CNIO roles are vastly different in practice, they share similar challenges when it comes to aligning workflows with new technology to enhance employee experience and patient care. Their roles depend on not just bringing in new technology, but also ensuring that technology is tailored to the realities of healthcare, targeted to addressing key pain points, and practical for healthcare professionals to use as part of their daily workflows.

How does technology actually support clinical decisions?

Patient safety and positive outcomes are key to CIOs, CNIOs and CCIOs—any technology must enable more timely or more accurate clinical decisions at the point of care. Highly accurate speech recognition like Augnito is objectively faster and more flexible than slow manual typing or waiting for outsourced transcription, enabling the flow of patient data and enriching decisions with more accurate, complete notes and reports.

How can speech work alongside other systems?

Interoperability between different health IT systems is a key responsibility for CCIOs and CIOs, particularly around integration with often outdated legacy systems. Cloud-based speech recognition can integrate easily with existing Hospital Information Systems (HIS), Electronic Health Records (EHR), and other applications. Crucially, a robust cloud platform like Augnito also offers continuous updates, ensuring interoperability with new systems and applications as they emerge and adoption increases.

Where should a limited budget be focused?

One of the most acute pain points for CIOs, CCIOs and CNIOs—and, indeed, the entire NHS—is a limited IT budget that seems almost contradictory to the governmental pressure to make healthcare more digital. Balancing the need for innovation with financial constraints is a delicate task, but one that a pay-as-you-go cloud-based solution can help with. Significantly, Augnito allows Trusts to scale their usage up and down to meet their requirements and doesn’t require costly changes to your on-premise IT infrastructure. Beyond protecting capital, Augnito also removes the ongoing expense of burdensome management, maintenance, and updates.

How can we drive adoption—and maximise the impact?

CIOs, CCIOs and CNIOs all face huge resistance to new technology, new ways of working, and adoption. Nursing staff may resist adoption new technology due to concerns about disruption; entire organisations may ignore a new tool if they can’t clearly see the benefits for themselves. That’s why we developed Augnito with a relentless focus on ease of use and real-time results. It’s easy to try Augnito on a desktop, laptop, or mobile device, and instantly see the potential of 99.3% accurate speech-to-text. And this simplicity and flexibility creates a positive feedback loop where adoption by some leads to adoption by all—and ultimately a faster return on your investment.

Learn more about Augnito

See how Augnito Spectra delivers measurable benefits now while future-proofing the way you capture patient data. Request a demo or try Augnito Spectra for 7 days and see the benefits for yourself.

As we look back on 2023, we are reflecting on the topics that have been front of mind for every healthcare professional. For many, 2023 was another year of intense pressure, limited resources, and searching for ways to work more efficiently and improve the patient journey.

Throughout the year, we have considered many of the most significant, complex issues facing the NHS today. From Delayed Transfers of Care to understanding the real cost—and value—of new technology, we have discussed how AI-powered speech recognition can dramatically improve workloads and, ultimately, patient outcomes.

But how much has changed since we first discussed these important topics? And how can speech continue to deliver measurable value to healthcare professionals across every discipline and specialism?

The continued pressure of bed shortages

Back in January 2023, we wrote about the relationship between dwindling bed stocks, high occupancy rates, and Delayed Transfers of Care. Initiatives like the Urgent and Emergency Care Plan laid the foundation for improvement over time, but almost 12 months later, the number of available beds across the NHS remains low.

In December 2023, the NHS Confederation was reportedly ‘worried’ about the continued lack of beds, particularly in Yorkshire and north-east England. With occupancy hitting heights of 95%, Trusts are left exposed to surging flu rates and seasonal illnesses. At the same time, high occupancy also drives infection risk, potentially worsening an already fraught situation.

Speech recognition solutions like Augnito Spectra have a role to play in accelerating safe discharge by reducing internal delays. When clinical workfllows and reporting are fast, flexible and accurate, patients can be safely transferred outside of the NHS, freeing up vital bed space for someone else.

A national emergency for mental healthcare

We also discussed the current state of mental health services in the UK, describing a flashpoint where the available resources need to be rapidly expanded to keep up with surging demand. Sadly, more recent news articles suggest a system that’s perpetually struggling to keep up.

According to The Guardian, the NHS Confederation described mental healthcare in England as a ‘national emergency’ in October 2023. Many NHS leaders observe that mental health has ‘slipped down the government’s set of priorities’, with patients suffering as a result. The situation is similar across the wider UK—in Scotland’s December 2023 budget, mental health funding was cut by almost £30 million.

For mental health professionals (MHPs), new ways of working can enable manual tasks to be completed faster and more flexibly. Crucially, a speech recognition platform, like Augnito, enables MHPs to capture notes in a way that’s natural and intuitive, so more attention can be paid to important patient interactions and those personal, often difficult and emotional conversations.

The continued evolution of patient data

Finally, we looked at patient data in its various formats across 2023. We discussed the importance of interoperability, sharing patient data securely to enable collaboration across multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs). We also tracked the evolution of patient data, including the changing nature of patient records and the heightened importance of accuracy and clarity.

Despite some controversy around privacy, 2024 will undoubtedly see new changes in the way patient data is stored, captured, shared and processed.

Augnito Voice Services and Augnito Spectra will continue to deliver wide-reaching benefits across healthcare with 99.3% accurate, AI-powered transcription that’s available anywhere, on any device. Our aim in 2024 will focus even more on how Augnito modernises the way healthcare professionals report, so, in turn, patient journeys and experiences can be modernised too. All in a single cloud-hosted platform that can be integrated into your EPR system for secure sharing.

Increasingly, patient journeys are becoming digital journeys—and the quality of the data you hold is key.

Learn more about Augnito

See how Augnito Spectra delivers measurable benefits now while future-proofing the way you capture patient data. Request a demo or try Augnito Spectra for 7 days and see the benefits for yourself.

With seemingly endless pressure on bed stocks, waiting lists, and workloads, technology is often used by the NHS for its immediate benefits. With a mindset of problem solving, trusts and healthcare providers are looking for faster, more flexible ways to work now. But the always-changing nature of healthcare means any effective technology has to consider the long term.

Speech recognition and digital transcription platforms allow healthcare professionals to capture important information wherever and whenever they need to — without waiting for time-consuming transcription or updating records manually. But a solution that saves time and delivers results today, might not be fit for purpose as our relationship with patients — and their data — continues to change.

A look back across the history of patient data shows us that change is the only constant and the only effective technology is one that’s future-proofed and always improving.

A history of patient data in the UK

Patient data and records have been a key part of UK healthcare for over a century. As far back as 1911, GPs were required to keep written records for all working-age men, supporting the government’s compulsory health insurance scheme. These paper records were deeply embedded by the time the NHS was established – a single, self-contained resource that was easy to misplace, but also easy to secure and manage.

The digital revolution saw a similar overhaul of how patient data is stored and handled. While the first use of computers for record keeping in a GP surgery date back to 1970, the two decades since the millennium have seen rapid changes to expectations around data from government and patients alike.

The NHS began widely deploying electronic health records in 2005, investing in the digital infrastructure to store and share patient data across the country. Today, we’re all familiar with electronic patient record systems (EPRs) and their role as hubs of patient data.

This ongoing change creates new and emerging requirements for technology. At the advent of the NHS, the best record keeping platform was a strong filing cabinet with a lock. Now, healthcare professionals need robust, reliable software as well as intuitive, flexible ways of interacting with that software and capturing data.

The changing nature of patient records

While the means of accessing and storing patient data is always changing over time, the nature of those records is shifting too. 2015 saw the start of an NHS initiative to let patients access summary electronic medical records and, since 2022, almost all NHS patients have been able to see their data via the NHS app.

For the healthcare professionals capturing those notes, reports, and records, this creates new pressure. With potential scrutiny from patients, it’s now more important than ever that notes are clear, detailed, content-rich and free from confusing jargon. In general, this is making patient notes longer and more complex to write, intensifying the need for a fast-yet-accurate way to work. However, in the long run, this will overcome ambiguity and misinterpretation.

Speech recognition and voice-driven AI technology has an important role to play, enabling healthcare professionals to work up to four times faster and offset some of this growing complexity by simply dictating directly into the digitised patient record.

The future of patient data: digital, secure, compliant

Finally, the digitalisation of patient data creates new obligations around security and privacy. NHS Trusts and healthcare providers need to strike the balance between enabling access to data while strengthening resilience against data breaches, accidental disclosure, and cyber-attacks. As AI continues to develop and we unlock new ways to work with, and learn from patient data, these risks are set to intensify.

Augnito Spectra is built for the digital future of patient data. With 99.3% accurate, AI-powered real-time transcription, Augnito Spectra provides a digital way to capture notes and create reports simply by speaking: a natural, human way to interact without the need to type and, more specifically with no wait for manual transcription. With integration into your EPR system, data can be securely sent to wherever it needs to be, contained within the patient record in clear language for easy authorised recollection

At the same time, Augnito Spectra is always evolving, much like the way patient data is handled. As a cloud-hosted platform, Augnito Spectra is being constantly updated with the latest features — from interface changes to security enhancements, reducing clinical risk, streamlining, and adapting to the way healthcare professionals work.

Learn more about Augnito

See how Augnito Spectra delivers measurable benefits now while future-proofing the way you capture patient data. Request a demo and see the benefits for yourself.

Time-saving is often the biggest promise of replacing slow transcription with smart speech recognition—and it’s not a unique claim. With an audience of overworked healthcare professionals, almost every new technology claims to drastically reduce admin time, but working faster isn’t where the real value lies.

If every healthcare professional worked faster, we’d begin to make progress on backlogs, waiting lists and bed shortages. However, this is a drop in the ocean given the chronic understaffing the NHS is facing—and the danger of speed is that it undermines the quality of care delivered. At the same time, the hours saved every day are only important if that time can be spent wisely—to listen, think carefully, and safeguard positive patient outcomes.

Speech recognition can save healthcare professionals up to an hour every single day. But what really matters is the way in which this time is repurposed to improve outcomes.

The persistent barrier of bureaucracy

There are few jobs without a seemingly endless amount of bureaucracy but, in healthcare, the stakes are higher. When you spend excess time on transcription and moving pieces of data around patient records, this is all time taken away from skilled, important work.

According to a survey from staffing app Florence, 20% of NHS and social care managers say they spend 7-8 hours on admin every day. Around 40% said this impacts patients with 30% naming documentation and record keeping specifically. Crucially, 35% feel that outdated technology causes more time wasting.

In this context, it’s only natural that many NHS trusts and private healthcare providers are turning their attention to new technology that claims to reduce admin time. However, these headline time savings aren’t always what they claim to be.

The reality of time savings and measurable value

When comparing technologies, it’s tempting to imagine a direct correlation between time and money savings. We’ve previously written about hidden costs and the challenge of measuring value but even the promise of an hour saved per person, per day, must be understood in its proper context.

A technology like speech recognition helps users reclaim an hour every day, on average. So where is this time currently being spent? With some solutions, it’s not actually time saved—it’s time that’s just moved to checking for accuracy as well as other tedious admin tasks.

From the outset, it’s easy for time savings to be displaced onto training and adoption. Unwieldy solutions may require extensive face-to-face training. In many cases, this significantly reduces the real-world time-saving you can expect. At the same time, ongoing training and support can quickly undermine efforts to work faster and more flexibly. If a user must wait for speech recognition dictionaries to be manually updated every time a new drug name appears, there’s a risk that the user will be working more slowly than ever before.

By automating transcription and documentation tasks, clinicians can save valuable time that can be redirected toward patient care. This reduces work-related stress, improves work-life balance, and influences outcomes in three key ways:
#1 More Time for Patient-Centric Care: With less admin, clinicians have more time to focus on their primary responsibility—providing patient care. This extra time at the bedside allows for better communication, addressing patient concerns, and building stronger patient-clinician relationships.
#2 Timely and Accurate Diagnoses: Accurate and comprehensive documentation supports better-informed patient-care planning, improved medication management and less error prone decision-making. When clinicians have access to detailed timely patient records, they’re able to make more accurate diagnoses and develop safer, effective, treatment plans.
#3 Enhanced Patient Satisfaction: Patients appreciate the convenience and efficiency of prompt and accurate clinical documentation and are more likely to adhere to their treatment plans and follow-up requirements. This in turn contributes to more efficient and timely patient journeys and ultimately to better care outcomes.

Similarly, a new way to capture clinical records, reports and notes is only effective if it’s closely connected to other clinical systems, reducing the risk of errors associated with manual data entry or with data (miss)-routing by systems that don’t integrate with each other. While users might be able to capture notes up to four times faster with speech compared with manual typing, or using an outsourced transcription provider, this may be limited to a given interface. It’s vital that the information captured is right first time, before it is securely sent to wherever it needs to be—from/to patient records, healthcare colleagues, or patients.

How Augnito Spectra turns time into value

Augnito Spectra delivers over 99% accurate medical speech recognition to where it’s needed. An easy-to-use, AI-powered, cloud-hosted platform that saves time compared to manual typing or transcription. What makes it unique is the way it then safeguards time savings so they can be spent improving patient outcomes.

With Augnito Spectra, users can dictate notes and reports directly into the clinical record system from any device. Data is seamlessly and securely routed to other systems as soon as it’s ready, rather than it being delayed due to manual repetitive re-entry. All with unmatched accuracy for any English accent or dialect, with no need for lengthy voice training, so every user can maximise their time savings.

Augnito Spectra is also backed by the service and support that only comes from a team with over two decades experience in delivering transcription services to the NHS. From ongoing product updates to in-app help, a guided tour, and always-available support, Augnito ensures that time isn’t just saved on digital transcription—it’s also saved every time a new feature is used or help is needed.

Learn more about Augnito

See how Augnito Spectra creates compounding time savings across every part of your daily routine. Request a demo to try Augnito Spectra for 7 days and see the benefits for yourself.

From GP surgeries to hospitals, across every department and discipline, the NHS continues to be in crisis. Backlogs aren’t getting smaller, digital transformation is slow, and waiting lists are perpetually increasing. Despite this, Trusts are reluctant to invest in smarter, faster, more flexible ways of working – and it’s easy to see why.

Historically, Trusts have been burned by technology that creates seemingly endless costs without delivering real, measurable value. What appears to be a cost-effective choice now can all-too-often spiral out of control and cost significantly more than expected. While initial investment or subscription fees are within the budget, the expense of implementation, training, and managing adoption undermine the promised value of the software or hardware.

These hidden costs are sadly common and, in some cases, woven into the business model of technology providers. But the true price isn’t just financial – it’s in how these costs affect patients.

What are the potential hidden costs of speech recognition?

Any on-premise technology comes with inevitable hidden costs. These unavoidable expenses may include infrastructure and IT changes, manual implementation and testing, procuring new devices, and ongoing management and maintenance costs, whether they involve your own IT teams or an external provider. Quickly, the per-user licence fee becomes just one part of your overall costs.

In theory, cloud-hosted technology should mark an end to hidden costs. However, the reality of this is largely dependent on the specifics of your chosen solution.

Frequently, cloud software will still require specific equipment. In the case of speech recognition, this could include specific microphones or headsets. Some providers also charge implementation and training fees in addition to your licensing costs. Even if a provider doesn’t charge these fees, you may need to invest in compatible hardware – many solutions are restricted to certain platforms and operating systems.

Finally, usability and intuitiveness play an important role in the cost of your solution. If a speech recognition solution is difficult to use, constantly inaccurate, and frustrating for your users, this creates a very real financial cost in terms of lost productivity, stressed medical professionals, and a negative impact on your patients. In part, these are the financial consequences of a ‘top down’ solution – one where the benefits to your users aren’t clear or desired, so onboarding and widespread adoption take months or even years.

How hidden costs affect practitioners and patients

The appeal of medical speech recognition is simple: improve the workload and daily routine of clinicians to improve the experience of patients.

The way people capture notes is a prime area for reinvention – and one where the benefits can be numerous. Manually typing reports, or waiting for slow secretarial manual transcription adds time to the patient journey. Checking transcription and retyping into clinical systems can slow this journey even further. The amount of time potentially wasted directly correlates to the frustration of medical professionals, the size of the backlog, and the outcomes patients can expect.

Crucially, hidden costs and complexities directly affect patients. The HSJ recently reported a Trust’s admission that ‘patients suffered harm’ due to the huge follow-ups backlog. Meanwhile, data from The Telegraph shows the number of patients waiting to start treatment in England is 7.7 million and growing. Trusts need an urgent intervention and change to ways of working and reporting. A slow, expensive implementation process only creates yet another delay – another drain on resources that takes away from positively affecting patient outcomes.

Medical speech recognition with no hidden costs

In the most objective terms, Augnito Spectra is cloud-hosted, voice-driven AI speech recognition with no hidden costs. Augnito Spectra runs on your existing desktops, tablets, smartphones and MacOS devices. It’s implemented fast with no need for on-premise infrastructure nor IT changes. And our emphasis on ease of use removes the hard-to-estimate cost of training and driving adoption. Users simply take a guided demonstration or click the solution’s own Product Tour button and get started straight away on any device they want.

At the same time, Augnito Spectra is designed to keep costs down over time. With over 99.9% accuracy for any accent and many medical specialities, Augnito eliminates the hidden costs of checking and proofing reports. And with a voice-driven AI engine, Augnito continually evolves – whether you’re adding new words like new drug names, or receiving free, constant updates as we introduce new features. You can see some of our latest updates in this short video.

Augnito Spectra delivers industry leading speech/voice recognition without hidden costs – and, as a cost-effective, intuitive to use, and accurate option, the benefits are easy to see.

Learn more about Augnito

See how Augnito Spectra is already delivering transformational value – with no hidden costs – for medical professionals across the UK. Request a demo to try Augnito Spectra for 7 days and see the benefits for yourself.