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Manchester NHS Pathology Team “amazed” by Medical Voice to Text

We’re joined by Machester University NHS Trust’s Cellular Pathology IT Lead, Pete Pilatis, to discuss the department’s journey to speech recognition and how the technology has changed its service as a whole.

  • The Histopathology at Manchester Royal Infirmary is part of the Directorate of Cellular Pathology and provides a comprehensive histopathology and cytopathology service to the hospitals within the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
  • The department offers the following histopathology diagnostic services: Gynaecological, Paediatric, Ophthalmic, Renal, urological and endocrine pathology and many more.
  • The department’s existing digital dictation system was too basic to meet their requirements.
  • The workflow has too many steps to the reporting process which introduces the likeliness of transcription errors.
  • 36 of the 40 team members are now using Dragon Medical with more to be added.
  • Staff feedback praises how quickly they picked up their voice and accents from the get-go.
  • Dragon has been integral in saving time for pathologists.

About The Manchester University NHS Trust Histopathology Department

Belonging to the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and the Directorate of Cellular Pathology, the Histopathology department based at the Oxford Road Campus provides specialist tertiary referral and opinion on a regional and national basis.

The team processes approximately 43,000 patient samples per year under various categories such as Gynaecological Pathology, Gastrointestinal, Pancreaticobiliary and Hepatic Pathology, Head and Neck Pathology, Dermatopathology and much more.

We’re joined by the Cellular Pathology IT Lead, Pete Pilatis, to discuss the department’s journey to speech recognition and how the technology has changed its service as a whole.

Creating Documentation Before Speech Recognition

The medical sector is known for its astounding reporting and documentation levels, for which Mr Pilatis’ department was using a digital dictation system.

Dictation is a more traditional method of capturing documentation whereby the doctor/clinician dictates their notes into a voice recorder, they then send the file to their secretary or typist who will transcribe the audio file into tangible text. Following this, the typist will send the document back to the clinician to check and approve before it is dispatched accordingly.

Whilst some find this method works excellently for them, others find it can entail a lot of ‘back and forth’ and in these cases, speech recognition is often better suited and more efficient.

Speaking on their old process, he explained:

Additionally, the Histopathology department found that this process introduced additional steps to the reporting process and, in Mr Pilatis’ words, “introduced the likeliness of transcription errors.”

So when the Histopathology team discovered how well another department in the trust was doing with the help of VoicePower, they decided they too wanted to explore their options.

“We approached VoicePower to aid us in implementing because they were already active at another site within our trust.”Mr Pilatis, Cellular Pathology IT Lead

Following reaching out to speech recognition specialists, VoicePower Ltd, the Histopathology department explained the pitfalls with their current system and expressed that they wanted a more efficient workflow, with fewer touchpoints for their admin team and a quicker turnaround time.

After careful deliberation and workflow consultancy, the VoicePower team recommended that Dragon Medical Practice Edition is the solution to meet the department’s needs.

medical voice to text

Choosing Dragon Medical Voice-To-Text Technology

Dragon Medical is a real-time speech recognition engine that has an in-built medical vocabulary for specific departments such as pathology. Dragon allows clinicians to dictate directly into their computers as well as create custom commands and templates to speed up repetitive tasks.

Mr Pilatis explained what made them agree with VoicePower Ltd and choose Dragon Medical voice-to-text software:

Opting to go ahead with one of VoicePower’s fully serviced pilots, the department was able to try the software for themselves before making a full investment. The staff were able to see how the technology would benefit them and of course test out the accuracy!

Mr Pilatis confirmed the benefit of the trial, explaining:

“The guidance from VoicePower was great, we trialled a short period of testing with a small consultant team and VoicePower were available at every step of the way. This then led to the purchasing of the package for the entire team.”Mr Pilatis, Cellular Pathology IT Lead


Fast-forward to the current day, 36 out of 40 employees are using Dragon Medical voice-to-text software with more to be set up soon but what is their verdict?

Dragon Medical is “Amazing!”

Now over a year into using their new solution, we asked Mr Pilatis and his colleagues to update us on how they’re finding using medical speech recognition:

To summarise, swapping to speech recognition has meant that the department’s admin team no longer faces the huge transcription workload and the contact points that the clinicians have with the letter following its creation have been reduced.

Instead, doctors can dictate directly into their patient record system or Microsoft Word, ready for their secretary to proof-read and distribute the same day – This can be the difference between 2-week and 2 day report turnaround times!

Mr Pilatis isn’t the only one pleased with the accuracy:

medical voice to text

Expert Advice and Support Are Everything

VoicePower takes pride in not being the average ‘box-shifter’, in fact, they are known for offering software training and technical support services to ensure successful deployment of their products.

According to the Histopathology department, VoicePower’s support was instrumental in their rollout of medical voice-to-text software:

Considering the number of users that Manchester University NHS were purchasing, VoicePower recommended the Train the Trainer course – An extensive course whereby VoicePower Nuance certified trainers teach a dedicated staff member from the Histopathology department so that they can train the rest of the users internally.

Mr Pilatis expressed how helpful this was:

The trust also praised VoicePower’s course, stating:

“The training offered by VoicePower was very informative and covered all the essential information and more. The exercises during the training were particularly useful, as well as the additional information sheet that included some phrases/ commands which were more niche.” – Mr Pilatis, Cellular Pathology IT Lead

Many VoicePower clients identify being able to call the team with any technical problems or queries as a key factor in the success of the product.

The team of dedicated engineers know everything there is to know about Dragon and is on hand to help whether it be installing on another PC or creating a new command. Evidently, Manchester’s Histopathology team concur:

To summarise, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust has found a workflow that works for them. Dragon Medical has allowed them to provide timely and personalised patient care, as well as minimising the level of admin for their team and it is down to this that Mr Pilatis concludes: “I would definitely recommend this product to another pathology department.”

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