Sonja Brown and Vicky Humberstone of VoicePower are expanding their firm as demand for their voice recognition and digital dictation software grows
Sonja Brown and Vicky Humberstone of VoicePower are expanding their firm as demand for their voice recognition and digital dictation software grows

Expanding Harrogate firm using technology to change lives

21 February 2017

A Harrogate technology company whose services have enabled NHS departments to reduce waiting times and achieve targets is preparing for further growth in the next 12 months.

VoicePower supplies speech recognition and digital dictation software and equipment across many industries to enable businesses and organisations to work more efficiently.

With growing pressure on NHS services , GP practices and other healthcare groups across the North of England have used the Harrogate company’s recommended software to make significant savings on both time and costs – and to benefit patients.

Director Sonja Brown said: We have worked with NHS trusts whose departments were running significantly behind targets and were struggling to keep up with their workload.

By introducing speech recognition software, enabling consultants to have their comments transcribed instantly rather than waiting for recordings to be transferred to and processed by a secretary, several departments have reduced their turnaround times for results and letters to just a few hours.

In cases such as pathology departments, where patients are waiting for their results before being given the treatment they need, this is particularly rewarding.

One of those to benefit was Waterloo Medical Centre in Blyth, Northumberland, which saved £15,000 in the first year of working with VoicePower.

Practice manager Chris Watson said: Stress levels have been reduced, we’ve made excellent cost savings, we’re better able to cope with rising patient numbers, letter turnaround times are down, and, more than anything, our medical documentation is more complete and accurate than before.

Founded in 1993, VoicePower now has a team of eight working across the North of England. Sonja and business partner Vicky Humberstone took over the company from retiring founder Colin Wormald in 2010.

Since then, they have spent time developing its services and expanding its client base, but are now preparing to expand. New opportunities, including partnerships with digital agencies and contracts with large organisations across the North of England, have helped to fuel demand for VoicePower’s services.

In settings where security is of particular importance, such as healthcare and legal practices, cloud-based speech recognition software has until recently not been secure enough to be used extensively. However, VoicePower has become one of just three UK partners of manufacturer Nuance, which will enable its team to offer secure cloud-based software for the first time.

Sonja has now been accepted onto the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme, designed to provide high quality, practical education and business support to leaders of high-growth small businesses. VoicePower is expecting to take on two new employees in the next 12 months.

Sonja said: This is an ideal time for VoicePower to develop and grow.

People are becoming much more familiar with speech recognition and related technology, because it is available in their existing environment: on phones, in cars, via games consoles and so on. Suddenly, they are realising the potential for its application in business – and the savings of time, money and effort that can be achieved as a result.

Combined with the growing pressures on businesses and the NHS and the need to make those savings, introducing new technology is a practical solution that can make a very real difference to people’s lives.


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