CHALLENGE: Saudi Arabia’s International Medical Center, based in Jeddah, is a multidisciplinary hospital that delivers treatment across more than 30 speciality areas to half a million patients each year. Health Information Systems have been used there since 2006, but there were areas of clinical documentation that needed standardization.

SOLUTION: The center introduced the Nuance Dragon Medical Direct AI-powered speech recognition programme in a bid to standardize and improve documentation while also helping to free up more patient time for clinicians.

RESULTS: Since the introduction of the system, physicians have been able to double the number of patients they are able to see each day and patient feedback surveys have consistently ranked the center among the top hospitals within the region for patient experience and time doctor spent to care.

The IMC is a multi-disciplinary hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia that features specialty centers providing a wide range of comprehensive treatment options for different health problems. These services are delivered by more than 150 US, Canadian and European certified physicians in more than thirty specialties including Orthopedics, Cardiology, Oncology, Women’s Health and Children’s Health. The hospital is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities that enable it to rank among the best healthcare providers in the region. IMC is part of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

“Our primary goal is to provide improved health and experience for patients. AI-powered technology allows us to leverage resources to focus on the things that matter most, like face-to-face interactions. I envisage it becoming an indispensable method of formal communication within healthcare.”

— Dr Raheel Shariff, Deputy Chief Medical Officer International Medical Center, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Introducing speech recognition to standardize clinical documentation was a key part of the digitalization process for Saudi Arabia’s International Medical Center. The move was intended to create more time for caregivers to spend with patients as well as reducing errors and ensuring patients records are more easily accessible. Chief Information Officer Muhammad Siddiqui says: “We want to enable our caregivers to provide excellent care to the patients, without investing a great deal of time in documentation. Speech recognition technology eliminates the everyday obstacles, interruptions and delays that prevent you from doing your best work. From enhanced follow-up adherence and recommendation consistency to reduced patient length of stay, everything improves when each detail is thoroughly visible.” Since the solution was introduced in the center, which sees more than 100 outpatients a week and also has two days of surgery, has doubled the number of patients its physicians are able to see each day.

“Traditionally, reports would take several days to be typed up, but the technology means they can be generated within a few minutes.”

— Dr. Emad Sagr
Chief Medical Officer International Medical Center Saudi Arabia

Dr Raheel Shariff, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, says good medical documentation is crucial when each patient visit includes thorough record taking such as reason for visit, examination findings and amalgamation of the clinical investigations and a treatment plan.

He says: “I use Dragon Medical Direct for all aspects of clinical documentation. Dictating clinic notes, surgical reports and everything else. We have moved to a paperless system and the system is an invaluable facet of easing the documentation process.”

Accuracy and ease of use for physicians is key to success

One of the critical benefits of speech recognition is that it improves the experience for the healthcare professional as well as the patient. Dr Raheel says: “It has made life much easier as the speed of documentation improved significantly, and it was very easy to adapt to. The speech recognition learns your voice intonation, diction and phrases with time. This significantly reduces errors in documentation which might be encountered with dictation that is manually typed up by admin staff who are new to your unique speech delivery.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Emad Sagr says “Real time, readily accessible information at the point of care plays a key role in the ability of the IMC to ensure high quality, safe care and digitalization is vital for this. Among the benefits of being able to access information quickly is the generation of medical reports for patients. Traditionally, reports would take several days to be typed up, but the technology means they can be generated within a few minutes.”

Using speech recognition also achieves greater accuracy and less need to revisit documentation to correct it. The center assesses the accuracy and quality of the system against how many corrections need to be made on completion of the document. Dr Raheel says: “It’s highly efficient and very few typos need manual correction. This is negligible compared to previous modes of dictation.”

Project manager Hanadi Baajajah says the system has enabled the transformation and automation of the entire workflow of physicians, increased the completeness and accuracy of clinical documentation and reduced the backlog of letters and referrals, as well the turn-around time of clinical documentation.

“The use of the system has enabled us to put the patient at the center of care.”

— Hanadi Baajajah, Project Manager International Medical Center Saudi Arabia

In addition to better patient care and experience the system has also had financial benefits for the center. Mr Siddiqui says: “Speech recognition can certainly reduce documentation costs. Saving healthcare professionals time, standardizing documentation, reducing documentation errors, all leads to save costs which can’t be measured directly or reflected on patient’s bills.” Mr Siddiqui adds that hospital has seen reduced costs for scribes and transcriptionists.

The center is now aiming to implement Dragon Medical Direct across the whole setting with healthcare professionals using it every single time to document notes. Speech recognition combined with AI can also bring other benefits through the use of data analytics. Mr Siddiqui says: “I think speech recognition with AI will further enable our caregivers to analyze data at documentation level, which seemed impossible a few years back. AI tools can fetch relevant information from notes and can help caregivers in providing meaningful insights which are helpful for the patients. For the future, I think partnering, AI, ML and NLP will further enhance the documentation experience and will help the caregivers to get better insights from these types of tools.” Learn how Dragon Medical Direct can help your organization to improve care.