Speech technology relieves care home staff from having to write themselves

Annemarie  Holsbo

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Speech technology relieves care home staff from having to write themselves

A third of the staff at nursing homes have difficulties reading and writing. Through the project Work Life Quality with Speech Recognition, DTI tested a new IT program that automatically converts speech into text, with excellent results. This has freed social and health care assistants from having to enter information in residents’ journals by hand.

For more than a year, DTI has assisted care homes in the areas of Valby and Esbjerg in using new speech technology that enables staff to enter information into a computer through speech instead of by hand. Some 30% of the staff have difficulties with reading and spelling, but as a result of the program supplied by the Danish company Prolog Development Center, they were able to complete the documentation without problems.

- We’re pleased to have tested speech recognition in elder care where the technology hasn’t been tested before – neither in Denmark nor abroad. On the basis of this project, we’ve now started developing a mobile unit on which social and health care assistants can record information when they’re out visiting elderly citizens, says Jens Kjærum, Head of Department at Prolog Development Center.

Many positive effects of the new technology
Writing documentation was previously a difficult and uncomfortable task for the group of staff with reading and writing difficulties. Today, however, they know that their documentation is satisfactory, which has increased staff well-being. The quality of documentation has also improved as everyone can now provide precise and detailed documentation. Finally, the project has increased workplace efficiency as those with reading and spelling difficulties can now provide the documentation without having to ask a colleague or manager for help.

In concert with Prolog Development Center and project users, DTI has developed a web-based e-learning tool with more information on what speech recognition can offer in relation to the task of documentation in elder care. The project Work Life Quality with Speech Recognition is financed by the Prevention Fund under the Danish Ministry of Employment.