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Time, Money, and Lives Blog

How to Improve a Lean Lab Workflow With Speech Recognition

I recently read the article, "Lean Six Sigma changing healthcare as more providers adopt methods," on the Healthcare Finance websiteIn the article Sherree Geyer stated, “Lean Six Sigma is thriving in healthcare, a distinct change from two decades ago when the performance improvement methodologies were first introduced to the industry.” 

leanI was immediately struck by how true this is. I was a Product Manager for PowerPath AP/LIS for several years. I was responsible for the PowerPath product through multiple mergers and acquisitions. Part of my job was to be the “voice of the customer."  One of my primary goals was to enable the Pathologist to create accurate and timely patient reports.

As the Product Manager for PowerPath, I first met the Voicebrook team at an AP conference many years ago. We had several lunch time discussions about how a Pathology speech recognition reporting solution coupled with an excellent AP system could greatly improve the Pathologists control of the patient report. Voicebrook's President, Joseph Desiderio, provided me with a demonstration of how a speech solution could be integrated with the AP/LIS creating a seamless workflow from the gross room through final sign-out of the patient case.

I was particularly impressed with the potential for accuracy improvement when the PA or Resident dictates and reviews the gross description while the specimen is still on the cutting table.  I could see right away that the user was able to continue their normal AP/LIS workflow using templates or full narrative dictations while cutting the specimen for cassettes. They then spent a few seconds reviewing what they said and transmitted the case section to the report. This provided an opportunity to improve upon traditional report accuracy, because any needed corrections were made while the specimen was still on the cutting bench.

At our next break, Joe shared the benefits of the Pathologist workflow integration. When the slide tray is delivered to the Pathologist, they view the case slides, and dictate microscopic descriptions using templates or full narrative dictation, or a combination of the two. With the case materials still in front of the Pathologist, they are able to review, edit, diagnose, and sign out the case in a single session. This workflow adds a layer of efficiency and accuracy since the Pathologist can use the “once and done” workflow. Eliminating the wait for transcription that could be hours, or even days, removed the need for a second review of slides to determine that the right patient has the right diagnosis in as little time as possible.

I was immediately sold on an integrated solution and went back to our executive management team to recommend that we team up with Voicebrook to provide our customers with these LEAN reporting benefits. Customers were delighted with the result of two vendors working closely to add safety and efficiency to their laboratories.

A speech recognition reporting solution can be a major catalyst if you wish to make your laboratory workflow as LEAN as possible while improving the primary deliverable of any lab…”the patient report”. I believed in the Voicebrook solution ten years ago and fast forward to today, I am the Director of Product Management at Voicebrook and continue to look for ways to improve patient reporting with all AP/LIS vendors.

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Topics: LEAN Save Time Partner Relationship Management Product Management Accuracy Improvement