King's College Hospital Selects ScanSoft Speech Recognition Technology

King's College Hospital has reduced diagnostic reporting times by about 50 percent in a recent cancer treatment trial using  Dragon NaturallySpeaking software from ScanSoft, and training from Hands Free Computing. The trial, conducted by the South East London Cancer Network, was designed to find a solution that would reduce report creation times in order to meet new NHS waiting time targets.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking converts speech into text, automating the clinical documentation process. During the trial at King's College Hospital, the Histopathology department reduced reporting times from six days to three. The South East London Cancer Network secured funding to complete the roll-out in the Histopathology and Radiology departments and to extend the project to another five trusts. The South East London Cancer Network plans to purchase in excess of 100 additional licenses for Radiology and Histopathology services across South East London.

Under the terms of the NHS Cancer Plan (2000), the Cancer Waiting Times target is to treat people diagnosed with cancer within 62 days of a general practitioner (GP) referral and 31 days for urgent cases. The pilot at King's College Hospital audited the difference between conventional reporting (dictation to tape or written notes that are then typed) compared to using speech recognition for the same task.

Lawrence Howard, managing director of Hands Free Computing, said: "As well as demonstrating the technology's accuracy, this project provides tangible proof of the real-world productivity increases it can deliver in busy, document intensive environments."

Under the terms of the project, West Sussex-based Hands Free Computing will provide training and support for all the sites.

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