Executives at Universal Health Services Inc. (UHS) knew they needed to find a better way of handling transcription. The King of Prussia, Pa.-headquartered health system had been outsourcing almost all of its transcription needs through one vendor. But with lagging turnaround times and unhappy end users, UHS wanted a change.
According to Bruce Marcolongo, UHS clinical technology manger, making that type of change would be complicated. "The problem at that point was, well, if I relieve myself of that platform with them, then I have nothing. Even if I get another provider, then what do I do?"
Two-and-a-half years ago, UHS faced the challenge. What the investor-owned healthcare services company (with 21-acute care hospitals across the country) wanted was "to find a way to separate service from platform," Marcolongo says. "To make it seamless to the end user, make it scalable and make it independent of our service needs. So that, at some point in the future, we could not only offer our facilities some level of choice, but have flexibility to change business direction without impacting our technology infrastructure."
After shopping around, UHS settled on a solution from Westmont, Ill.-based MedRemote Inc. Soon after, Peabody, Mass.-headquartered ScanSoft Inc. acquired MedRemote. The company later changed its name to Nuance Communications Inc. of Burlington, Mass., and after taking a look at Nuance's solutions, UHS decided the Dictaphone Healthcare Solutions from Nuance was the right fit.
Nuance's solution seemed to offer what UHS wanted, decreased transcription dependence and the incentive to slowly turn from straight dictation to front-end speech recognition.
"It's kind of a win-win for the vendor," Marcolongo says. UHS currently has three pilots and plans a full roll out in the first quarter. "The technology company is going to make their money off of licensing, and we are going to make our money off of transcription savings."
What that means, Marcolongo says, is that it's a guaranteed return on investment, whether physicians move to front-end speech recognition or not. As for advice to others interested in similar dictation programs, Marcolongo suggests that along with finding vendors that offer front-end dictation whether it be for present or future use, providers ensure they have the appropriate bandwidth and that their "pipes are large enough" to accommodate sending voice files back and forth during implementation.
Mike Barnick is solutions marketing manager, Systimax Solutions, headquartered in Ireland.
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