The wellbeing services county of Central Uusimaa (Keusote) is responsible for the provision of health and social services and the coordination of rescue services and specialised medical care in Hyvinkää, Järvenpää, Mäntsälä, Nurmijärvi, Pornainen and Tuusula. Keusote's health care has been using the Lingsoft Speech Service speech recognition solution for several years. This solution integrates speech recognition with the dictation management system and mobile applications provided by a Lingsoft subcontractor.
In late 2023, the region also decided to test the time-saving solution in its social services. “During the autumn, we compiled digital plans for the service areas. One of the objectives of these plans was to give professionals the opportunity to test speech recognition,” explains Noora Nuutinen, ICT Development Manager for the wellbeing services county. “The default starting point was that speech recognition could be particularly useful in longer texts and documents, such as preparing a care and upbringing plan in child welfare services,” continues Nuutinen.
Diverse testing in several service areas
During the four-month pilot period, several different service areas participated in the pilot: services for elderly people and disability services, mental health, substance abuse and social services for adults, and services for children, youth and families. All in all, dozens of people took part in the testing process.
The objective of the pilot period was to collect experiences of speech recognition use in different user cases and to measure its benefits in terms of speeding up and facilitating client entries in different situations. Another goal was to obtain an overall picture of the environment in which speech recognition is used in social services and to utilise this information to further streamline the work flow.
The pilot began with kick-off events during which Lingsoft account manager Ville Parviainen provided user groups with information about the different functionalities and possible uses of the speech recognition solution. The pilot also included a weekly 15-minute support session, which allowed the testers to share experiences and ask a Lingsoft expert for practical tips.
Based on their notes, the testers dictated text in a workspace near a computer. A mobile application was used for dictations done between home visits. This allowed the professional to transcribe their notes immediately in a simple and secure manner, for example, in a car.
Noora Nuutinen says that a clear group of active users developed right at the beginning of the trial period. “The application was considered particularly beneficial in mobile work. It was easy to dictate client meetings into the mobile application to wait for checking and transfer to the client information system,” states Nuutinen.
Sonja Uosukainen, a supervisor in the Child Welfare Unit, explains that their working group found speech recognition particularly useful in long texts. Uosukainen expects that “the mobile application would be most beneficial for making entries in the car immediately, before driving to the next location.”
Social worker Suvi Lehtimäki states that “the program was smooth and easy to use, and it significantly reduced the amount of time needed to prepare texts and make entries. We could also use the program to dictate texts, for example, when walking back and forth wearing headphones. This promotes work ergonomics, and reduces the amount of time spent sitting in one place.” Lehtimäki tried to use the application for all entries, such as preparing client reports and client plans.
All in all, the cooperation between Keusote and Lingsoft progressed smoothly throughout the pilot period. The Lingsoft team was always available and dealt with any problems immediately. The weekly 15-minute support session was considered important because it provided professionals with a low-threshold channel to request help related to using the speech recognition program. At the same time, people were able to share their own experiences and encourage others to try out good practices.
At the end of the pilot period, social services declared that Lingsoft's speech recognition both speeds up and facilitates work and entries. Based on the valuable time savings and increased efficiency, Keusote social services made a decision in December 2023 to deploy Lingsoft Speech Service on a permanent basis.