How Psychiatrist, Dr Tony Fernando, Reduced His Work Day By 2 Hours Using Heidi’s AI Medical Scribe

Dr Fernando is a New Zealand-based psychiatrist who used to spend an average of 3 hours per day writing notes. Learn how Heidi helped slash his daily documentation time to just 30 to 60 minutes

As part of our mission to spread the word about Heidi, we recently interviewed Dr Tony Fernando to see how our AI medical scribe has changed his daily documentation regime. 

Dr Fernando is a highly-regarded psychiatrist and sleep specialist in private practice in Auckland, New Zealand. Before private practice, he spent more than two decades working as a clinician in the public health system and in academia.

A self-described “technophobe” (he only just purchased his first set of wireless headphones), Dr Fernando had been using Heidi for 2 months prior to our interview. 

Even in this short space of time, he managed to cut his documentation time by more than 50%—without compromising patient care. In fact, Dr Fernando even identified areas where Heidi has improved his clinical work. 

What’s more, Dr Fernando is confident that as he learns to use the expanded functionality of Heidi, his time savings and daily workflow will only improve.

Keep reading for a brief summary of Heidi’s AI medical scribe feature, followed by the key points of our interview with Dr Fernando.

Heidi: Your AI Note-Taking Assistant

Heidi is an AI medical scribe for all clinicians.

With a mission to help healthcare practitioners to enjoy what they do, without the hassle of admin, this free-to-try tool has exploded in popularity over the past year. 

Heidi is now used across the globe in 50+ countries. It has a range of use cases for medical doctors and allied health clinicians. However, a consistent favourite feature among our user base is the AI note-taking feature (also known as medical scribe).

You can see Dr Fernando explain just how easy the AI medical scribe is to use in the clip below. But in short, Heidi sits quietly and listens to your patient interviews—then generates an editable transcript of the session in mere seconds upon your request.

High-Quality Documentation Is Essential, But It Takes Time

Like most clinicians, Dr Fernando doesn’t particularly enjoy writing notes—but he is passionate about their importance.

“We’re [psychiatrists] notorious in medicine,” states Dr Fernando. “Even in med school, a lot of students don’t like psychiatry because we write a lot of notes.”

“But the reason is that to capture a human experience, you can’t just say, ‘patient’s anxious, patient’s sad, patient’s happy’—we need to qualify.”

Dr Fernando explains that each symptom he identifies in an assessment must have qualifying information, such as triggers, situations, severity, physiological characteristics, and more.

“We have an extensive list of things to check,” he adds. “We look at medical history, drug and alcohol use, relationships, work, study, childhood, trauma. We want to have an idea of a person’s history and what makes them tick.”

Even though he claims he’s “not the most detailed note taker,” Dr Fernando claims that he’ll often end up with 2 or 3 pages of handwritten notes after each session—all of which then need to be typed out and transferred to the medical record.

“As the day progresses,” says Dr Fernando, “I’ve accumulated so many notes that I usually budget 2 to 3 hours to document all my patient contacts during the day.”

The Human Cost of Administrative Burden

In the interview, Dr Fernando disclosed a widely experienced, yet rarely shared experience among healthcare clinicians.

He stated that while clinical work has its challenges:

“The biggest source of my stress is not patients—it’s documentation.”

The impact of administrative burden varies between clinicians. 

For Dr Fernando, it showed up as regularly having to stay at work late to finish his notes. 

Or, if he was too exhausted to finish his documentation after a full day of seeing patients, he would have to find a way to carve out an extra 2 to 3 hours in the following day to catch up (usually this involves getting to clinic early).

As a clinician, you know all too well the negative impact the continual stress of excessive documentation has on you personally. Plus, while writing notes is an essential part of practice, there’s no denying that at times it can take away from patient care.

New Possibilities Through AI

When asked about other tools he had tried before Heidi, Dr Fernando said he had tried several dictation programs previously, “But I just never felt satisfied and reverted to my default of writing notes then typing.”

This is a common experience among the healthcare professionals we speak to.

Voice-to-text technology has been around for some time. However, a verbatim account of what is said during a clinical interview actually doesn’t save much time when it comes to writing notes.

Sure. You don’t have to worry about forgetting what was said during the interview. But, you still need to look through the full transcript of the appointment, pull out the essential information, then, condense it into a suitable format for entry into the medical record.

What Dr Fernando discovered is that the AI medical scribe feature in Heidi dramatically reduces the double handling of information between the interview and adding a note to the medical record.

“The difference with Heidi is it’s instantaneous,” states Dr Fernando. “It’s real-time. And then after the consultation I just click stop recording and then generate.” 

Check out the video below where Dr Fernando describes his note taking process using Heidi.

The end result of this new process is that Dr Fernando has now reduced his daily documentation time from 2 to 3 hours per day, to a mere 30 to 60 minutes.

What’s more, the benefits extend even further beyond saving time on notes. 

Benefits for Patient Care

A comment frequently made about Heidi is that it allows clinicians to connect more fully with patients during session. 

This is because with Heidi taking notes for you, it’s possible to maintain eye contact with your patient without continually looking down at your notepad.

This isn’t such a concern for Dr Fernando, who after two decades has mastered the skill of keeping good eye contact while handwriting notes. However, he feels that for newer practitioners, Heidi is a tremendous asset in this regard.

“I’ve been recommending Heidi left and right,” Dr Fernando exclaims. Laughing as he states, “Considering I’m a technophobe—people are surprised!”

Less Stress, More Presence

Even for a clinician as experienced as Dr Fernando, Heidi offers avenues to improve patient care.

“I find technology like Heidi crucial not just in terms of note taking, but the fact that it allows me to focus on the interaction. Knowing that I don’t have to worry much about documentation, it actually affects me because I know I have less work and can concentrate my efforts on the present moment.”

A Tool to Reduce Burnout

When the topic of the interview turned to burnout, Dr Fernando became especially animated.

“Burnout is a fact of life for at least 50% of senior doctors,” he stated. “And there are multiple variables as to why doctors burn out. But a known variable is documentation.”

See what Dr Fernando has to say about how Heidi could help reduce burnout among doctors in this clip from the interview.

Burnout is a huge topic that we can’t do justice in an article of this size. However, it’s interesting to note that a study on burnout among healthcare clinicians in New Zealand backed up Dr Fernando’s claim about administration rather than patient work being a significant contributing factor.

Reporting on perceptions of factors relating to burnout, the paper states, “Many [clinicians] rejected the implied assertion that patients were a source of their burnout, instead noting that ‘it’s more frustrating working with administration than patients.’”

Getting the Most Out of Heidi

Toward the end of the interview, the conversation shifts toward Dr Fernando’s plans for the future with Heidi.

“I consider Heidi like a medical student at a B or C level,” states Dr Fernando. 

“Heidi is very good when it comes to follow-up appointments. When I see a patient for follow-up—Heidi does her thing. I click ‘generate’ and the notes and plan are done. I just add my bit in terms of Mental Status Exam and diagnosis.”

Where Dr Fernando sees room for improvement with Heidi is initial assessments.

He explains that while documenting a full assessment is still far quicker with Heidi than without, the final note requires a good deal more manual input than with a follow up.

Customisable Templates

When the interviewer asks if Dr Fernando has tried setting up a template for this in Heidi, he acknowledges he’s aware of the feature, but hasn’t yet attempted to create a customised initial assessment template.

Heidi’s AI medical scribe includes a drag-and-drop template builder, which you can use to create templates to your exact specifications. This greatly enhances Heidi’s ability to generate ready-to-use documentation that can be added to a medical record with little to no editing.

Some examples of templates our users have built are:

  • Progress notes (including specific formats, like SOAP)
  • Intake assessments
  • Referral letters
  • Standardised assessments (MOCA, MSE, etc)
  • Discharge letters

What’s more, you don’t even need to create these yourself. With our template library, you can find ready-made templates that other clinicians are using (and adjust to your needs if required).

Furthermore, the customer support team from Heidi is always on hand to walk you through the process of creating your own template, or anything else related to the product that you need help with.

Spend Less Time On Notes Without Compromising Care

At Heidi, our mission has always been to help healthcare clinicians spend less time on administration, while still delivering high-quality care.

So, when we heard Dr Tony Fernando recount how our AI medical mcribe feature has been saving him an average of 2 hours per day on note taking, we were beyond thrilled.

As Dr Fernando explains in the interview, Heidi—his AI-equipped “medical student”—unobtrusively sits next to him during his clinical interviews, silently recording and collating everything that is said during the appointment. 

Afterward, he simply stops recording, presses “generate,” then adds some minor edits to the note and it is ready to be added to the patient’s medical record.

For Dr Fernando, a psychiatrist and sleep specialist, Heidi’s assistance has helped to consistently reduce his average daily note-taking time from 2 to 3 hours to just 30 to 60 minutes.

What’s more, Dr Fernando is confident that through the use of customisable templates, he will be able to even further reduce the time he spends on administration.

As a clinician and educator with over two decades of experience, Dr Fernando’s offers the following parting advice regarding Heidi:

“My suggestion is to try it for 1 or 2 patients and see what you think. You’ve got nothing to lose. Well, the only thing you lose is extra documentation. Heidi is very user friendly. And the way I view it is like having an assistant colleague, like a medical student or junior doctor with you, quietly scribing in the background.” 

Heidi is currently free to try for all clinicians, all over the world. 

To start saving time on documentation today, simply head over to and sign up.

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