A law firm in Belgium - Knokse Advocate and Associate combines professional dictation technology and Philips smartphone app for maximum time savings and flexibility. Shortly after being established in 2005, Knokse Advocate and Associate, successfully made the transition to digital dictation. Its partners use Philips SpeechMike and Pocket Memo voice recorders, whilst the workflow is organized via the Philips SpeechExec Pro software platform. In this way, lawyers are able to make significant savings in time and efficiency with respect to secretarial services. What’s more, the Philips dictation recorder app for iPhone improves mobile flexibility.
Digital dictation devices
When Knokse Advocate and Associatie was first established, Kristof Van Den Heuvel was the only partner who had experience working with digital dictation. “Before, I used to work with a transcription service to whom I passed on my dictation files digitally. The only time savings were in the transcription, not in the subsequent workflow, which it was my aim to optimize. The analog dictation equipment being used in the office with cassettes wasn’t a solution either, since the processing of dictated texts was a slow process, the sound quality was not always up to scratch which resulted in errors, files would get easily lost and it wasn’t possible to organize the workflow more efficiently. What’s more, cassettes regularly needed replacing.”
The decision was then made to try digital recording equipment to speed up efficiency. Two Philips Pocket Memo voice recorders offer greater mobility, whilst the dictation workflow is organized via the Philips SpeechExec Pro software. The secretaries are able to work using the Philips SpeechExec transcription set, consisting of a headset and foot pedal. Because the system can be used fairly intuitively, no special training is required.
The effects were instantly apparent. Because the processing time is reduced drastically and fewer errors made, the average number of dictation files completed on a daily basis has increased to around 50, so clients are able to get a much quicker service. Dictations – downloaded via a docking station – might involve any number of documents and assignments, such as emails, conclusions, memoranda, official correspondence or invoices. In the SpeechExec software environment, dictations are identified by the dictation device that makes the recording, and so too the author, a reference number and – not unimportantly – the level of priority. A spoken text indicates the type of dictation at the beginning, so that the secretarial staff immediately know the style they have to use and where to file it.
“We can organize the whole workflow thanks to this simple coding, and follow up or modify the status at a later stage. This makes an important contribution to the efficiency of our organization”, explains Van Den Heuvel when he refers to the impact of digital dictation and processing in the office. “Since we provide secretaries with recorded versions, not only for transcription assignments but also other instructions, such as the retrieval or archiving of files, they also take responsibility for the workflow and even have a say in how they plan their daily work.”
Digital dictation, the next generation
As well as digital dictation devices, Van Den Heuvel – as a devoted advocate of digital dictation – uses the Philips Dictation Recorder app for the iPhone. Voice memos can be recorded on the iPhone or iPad via the easy-to-use interface and can be prioritized for the secretarial staff. The files are encrypted so that they cannot be accessed by third parties.
“I make around ten dictations like this every day. The Philips Dictation Recorder for the iPhone provides me with maximum mobility and flexibility: I can record, upload and share wherever and whenever I want”, explains Van Den Heuvel, who regularly has to travel abroad and finds this app the perfect solution during long periods away from home. “Furthermore, when I use the smartphone and the iPad I can quickly switch between dictation and other apps, which makes multitasking that much easier. Any ideas I have, I record using the app immediately.” What’s more, thanks to the encryption possibilities, sending audio files can be done extremely securely.
Nevertheless, the app is no substitute for the other digital dictation devices in the office. As far as Van Den Heuvel is concerned, the recording quality of the SpeechMike and Pocket Memo is greatly superior to that of a smartphone. “Philips’ devices are also more ergonomically designed and have the advantage of being able to upload dictations to the server immediately. I firmly believe in using a combination of different tools depending on the situation and the needs of users.”
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