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Using digital dictation software to increase productivity

Richard Hamer
Richard Hamer26.03.2018

Speech recognition and digital dictation have long been established as an essential business tool in some sectors such as legal and secretarial, but they are also becoming increasingly popular with information workers across many other industries.

While neither technology is particularly new; the former has been around since the 1950s, while the dictation element began to emerge around 20-odd years ago, recent advances in software such as machine learning and cloud computing have really accelerated their capabilities.

Nowadays you’d be hard pushed not to be aware of speech recognition and ‘speech to text’ with products such as Apple’s Siri, Hello Google and now the Amazon Echo starting to become ubiquitous in our modern day lives.

Making life easier

Speech recording iconThese technologies are now very much in the public realm and set to become a booming industry over the next few years as these tools aim to make our lives even easier.

Speech recognition software for the business world is a lot more sophisticated than that in our homes and on our mobile phones because it recognises individual speech patterns (our voices are as unique as we are), and by combining with a dictation program, our spoken or recorded words become text in a document – with hardly a touch of a keyboard!

From capturing ideas and creating documents, to email and searching the web, to using simple voice commands to control many of the popular programs that we use every day at home; today’s commercial speech software can make virtually any computer task easier and faster, and helps towards creating a paperless office as well as streamlining the flow of documentation.

Working on the move

Microphone iconYou can also use speech recognition on the move; recording notes and memos using a digital voice recorder, or a free smartphone app*, then getting the software to convert your audio files to text when you’re back in the office – get more done, sooner!

As you know, writing endless emails or long reports can be a chore, but there’s no need to tie yourself to the desk. Get up, stretch out, and you can use speech recognition to draft your emails or documents while you move around, using intuitive commands to go back and edit on the fly, while the software takes care of the spelling.

Dictation software isn’t just for the business world; it brings major benefits to any sector, and can help boost productivity by up to 50 per cent.

Boosting the medical sector

Did you know, for example, that on average half of a doctor’s working day is spent writing up clinical notes? Dictation software allows medics to quickly record patient notes and then send the resulting audio file electronically for text transcription.

Using a speech recognition solution, a healthcare professional is able to narrate their findings into a microphone and almost instantaneously their words will appear directly on the screen in front of them in an electronic health record, or any other chosen application as they speak.

This allows for considerable time and financial saving, particularly in the elimination of transcription needs, and an improvement in clinical documentation accuracy and turnaround times, which for the patient means a far quicker diagnosis or solution to an ailment.

Streamlining the legal world

Another profession that creates vast amount of documentation is the legal sector; and here, speech recognition and digital dictation brings huge benefits to any law firm because they are able to easily dispense with the traditional (ie, time consuming) processes of producing legal files.

In the past, fee earners would use either tape or digital recorders to dictate to; these tapes or digital files would then be passed to secretaries for transcription, and the speed at which this could be done was often determined by how busy the team was.

Law firms that have utilised this modern technology have estimated a boost in productivity of between 50 and 60 per cent thanks to the simple fact that they are able to cut down on the problem of letter backlogs that can appear in a busy legal practice.

This increase in productivity means that around 70 to 80 per cent of secretaries’ typing time can be released for more important client facing or client supporting activities instead, which has a hugely positive effect on overall customer satisfaction.

Lawyers are also able to respond to the seemingly ever-increasing number of emails they receive; they can reply to them not just quickly, but in more detail than they may have done if they were typing.

How can Vital help?

As your trusted IT services partner, we love bringing technology solutions to our customers that can help them to be more productive.
We are delighted to work in partnership with Harrogate’s VoicePower, a specialist provider and consultant on digital dictation and speech recognition.
By combining Vital’s expertise and thorough understanding of your technology platform and current systems, and VoicePower’s experience with a wide range of dictation and recognition solutions, we can ensure that you get the best possible solution that integrates seamlessly with your existing systems and is quickly and efficiently installed and supported!
* Free smartphone apps are not secure and some also send data to the US which is not suitable for UK legal, medical and financial services.

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