Snapshot of Flagler Health radiology department

  • Challenge:

    Improve the clinical documentation experience for radiologists to reduce burnout and maintain competitive advantage for growth in the region

  • 3M products used:

    3M™ M*Modal Fluency for Imaging - A speech and AI-powered complete radiology reporting and workflow management solution

    3M™ M*Modal Scout - An advanced AI-enabled business intelligence and analytics solution that supports administrators charged with improving patient throughput, compliance and cost control

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"3M Fluency for Imaging has the absolute best accuracy that I’ve seen in any product out there in the entire market."

—  Dr. Arif S. Kidwai, chief of radiology at Flagler Health

Hospital radiology teams see a high volume of patients referred to them each day, so their reporting method must allow them to be quick, thorough and, most importantly, accurate. Radiology teams must keep track of comprehensive patient information that can impact patient care across the health care continuum – and they must do this efficiently.

Many radiologists continue to use traditional dictation and transcription methods because that’s what they are used to. They expect dictations to be transcribed without any errors, which often leads to longer turnaround time – something that does not work well in an active hospital setting like that at Flagler Health in St. Augustine, Fla.

Before 2013, Flagler Health’s radiology department took a traditional approach with transcription – using 100 percent human power. The radiology team experienced long turnaround times with traditional medical transcriptionists – anywhere from three to 10 hours – for transcribing dictation and notifying referring physicians about results. In a busy hospital that includes a bustling emergency department, this posed challenges for hospital clinicians to deliver the best patient care possible.

“There’s no way that a physician could wait eight hours or so in the emergency room for a report,” said Dr. Arif S Kidwai, chief of radiology at Flagler Health. “So, we would do handwritten reports that we would then fax to the emergency room. You can imagine if you’re doing this hundreds of times a day, it is a major disruption.”

Encouragement from hospital leadership and his use of speech recognition technology in previous roles led Kidwai and his radiology team along a path to find the best speech-enabled reporting solution to meet their needs.

Flagler’s approach to speech recognition

When the Flagler radiology team began exploring speech recognition options and reviewing vendors, they wanted to be deliberate and intentional with their decision. The team needed a partner that understood its plan to achieve 80 percent real time speech recognition and 20 percent human transcription over 12 months.

Flagler had three specific criteria in mind when it came to adopting a speech recognition solution.

The solution must:

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    ✓ Have the highest accuracy possible
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    ✓ Be easy to use
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    ✓ Seamlessly integrate with workflows to improve turnaround time

The hospital’s chief medical information officer (CMIO) worked with Kidwai and the team to explore speech recognition solutions. They decided to take a look at 3M™ M*Modal Fluency for Imaging after the CMIO heard rave reviews about it from peers. They found 3M Fluency for Imaging met and exceeded what they were looking for in voice recognition software.

Exceptional accuracy, time savings and satisfaction

With 3M Fluency for Imaging, Flagler Health achieved:

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    Within three months, 100% of radiology reports were completed using 3M M*Modal real time speech recognition
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    Significantly reduced report turnaround time
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    Increased satisfaction among radiologists and clinicians
  • After going live with 3M Fluency for Imaging, the radiology department experienced a significant improvement in turnaround times with their reporting. Documentation and editing happened instantly with the radiologists themselves. They no longer had to wait on transcriptionists and extended turnaround times, providing more time for Flagler clinicians to deliver patient care.

    “Gone are the days of having to do handwritten reports and make phone calls to physicians,” said Kidwai.


    According to Kidwai, within two days of implementation, 95 percent of the reports completed by Flagler radiologists were dictated using 3M M*Modal real time speech technology and self-edited by the radiologist directly.

    That number increased to 97 percent after the first week and 99 percent one month after implementation.

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    Within three months, 100 percent of all radiology reports were completed with 3M Fluency for Imaging, eliminating the cost and delay of transcription. This far exceeded the team’s initial 80/20 plan over 12 months.

  • As with all change, there was some initial resistance among members of the radiology team. They felt it would impair workflow and take a lot more time than their traditional transcription experience.

    “We had one individual who was adamant he was not going to adopt new technology and was against it from the start,” said Kidwai. After two weeks, he ran into the CMIO and told him, “If you offered to take 3M Fluency for Imaging away, I would never let it happen.”

    Flagler radiologists said their new workflow was better and faster, especially since it eliminated many manual processes. No longer did they wait up to 10 hours to receive a report back. A team of five radiologists, still completing 400 cases a day, were able to save a tremendous amount of time by being able to dictate the report directly into the electronic health record (EHR) and make edits right away.

    “3M Fluency for Imaging has the absolute best accuracy that I’ve seen in any product out there in the entire market,” said Kidwai. “It has been a huge success in Flagler hospital, and our radiologists say they would never go back to the way they used to dictate. They want to stay with what they’ve got."

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Case study: How Charlotte Radiology handles 1.7 million exams per year

Charlotte Radiology
Charlotte, N.C.


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Prioritizing accuracy above all

In 2013, Charlotte Radiology sought a speech vendor capable of handling the array of outpatient, inpatient and emergency room (ER) exams that the large radiology group reads for numerous hospitals and imaging centers.

When it came to selection criteria, accuracy ranked top of the list. “The sine qua non of voice recognition is voice recognition,” said Dr. Jonathan Clemente, chief of the department of radiology at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a member of Charlotte Radiology’s neuroradiology section for more than 20 years. “Does it recognize your voice? That is the number one thing.” 

The Carolina-based radiology group selected 3M™ M*Modal Fluency for Imaging as its speech-enabled reporting system – though accuracy is only one feature that has benefitted the team. 

Decorative background

We are a very busy, high volume practice. We read almost two million exams per year, so it’s mission critical for us to have a speech solution that we can rely on. 3M Fluency for Imaging has made a big difference in how we dictate and create reports.

Dr. Jonathan Clemente, chief of the department of radiology at Carolinas Medical Center and neuroradiologist with Charlotte Radiology

Making a difference with macros

  • For radiology teams looking for a speech reporting system, Dr. Clemente advised, “Don’t become enamored with the bells and whistles. At the end of the day, voice recognition and stability are the key drivers.” Even still, he appreciates the additional functionality of templates and macros, which save him significant time. 

    Within 3M Fluency for Imaging, radiologists can develop customizable templates to facilitate the creation of consistent, comprehensive and compliant reports for common imaging exams. Macros also enable time savings by allowing radiologists to populate their reports using keywords and phrases – which helps decrease cognitive load as well.

    Dr. Clemente uses templates and macros to help maximize his time as he manages a high volume of cases each shift. “I have macros for everything,” he said. “I have 20 chest X-ray macros just because I know it will make me more efficient than doing any kind of manual free text dictation. We try to minimize the amount of actual dictation because it’s more efficient for me to click ‘normal head CT’ than to actually dictate out a normal head CT report.”

  • Case study title page thumbnail image.

    Check out the full case study

    Learn more about Charlotte Radiology’s experience with 3M Fluency for Imaging and find out how the imaging group has leveraged templates to support a quality initiative.

  • As with any case study, results, outcomes and/or financial improvements should not be interpreted as a guarantee or warranty of similar results. Individual results may vary depending on a facility’s circumstances.

Ready to take the next step?

Let’s see how we can work together to support your radiology team with solutions that save time, support accuracy and beat burnout. 

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