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Six considerations for integrating medical transcriptions into your operations


Leverage higher-accuracy transcription services to streamline your business operations

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Healthcare companies deal with a lot of written data—from patient records and clinical documentation to administrative documents. Maintenance of these medical documents requires a human touch since they need to be highly precise.

Medical transcription services have emerged as a powerful resource on this front. Their accuracy rate is usually on the higher end when compared with other options available in the market. For this very reason, the demand for medical transcriptionists has been on the rise.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

If you too are looking at leveraging transcription to streamline the operations of your healthcare business, here are a few crucial considerations that will help you make an informed decision:

1) Consider your Workflow

When opting for transcription services, you can’t really follow a one-size-fits-all approach. Every healthcare business is going to be different from the other. Your organization can be one that provides direct care and deals largely with EHR data, or it can be one that supports frontline medical practice indirectly in the form of a healthcare software development or an equipment manufacturing company.

Your workflow—from the preferences of your staff, your specialty, to your practice's specific needs—plays a vital role in influencing what type of transcription service will be most effective for your organization and to what extent should you be integrating it within your operations. It all depends upon how your organization functions, the volume of your documentation, and what your practice can best adapt to.

2) Take Legal and Regulatory Considerations into Account

Another important consideration for integrating medical transcription within your practice is ensuring that the provider knows the importance of maintaining compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This ensures that all security protocols and policies are in place during each phase of transcription.

While using a combination of sophisticated software, innovative products, and experienced personnel, a HIPAA compliant transcription service provider can furnish robust security to Protected Health Information (PHI) for the healthcare facility. This eventually affords administrators the ability to focus on their core activities.

Some of the common attributes put in place by medical transcription companies to protect PHI from unauthorized access include:

  • Skilled workforce trained and monitored on HIPAA security, confidentiality, and privacy
  • Electronic access by user and password
  • Audit trails of all transactions – transcribing, listening, viewing, editing, printing, faxing, electronic signing and delivery methods
  • Encryption of information exposed to the web

3) Spell out Everything in your Contractual Terms

It is important to comprehend what to expect from a third-party service and at what cost, when carrying out negotiations. Start by building quality metrics into the contract. It needs to be a tiered approach with percentages for everything clearly laid down. As per industry standards, healthcare organizations ideally shoot for 98% accuracy for major errors. Minor errors are usually acceptable, so long as they are just typos or other less important things.

You can enforce the target metrics by negotiating some penalties for when the transcription service provider demonstrates poor service and incentives for when the company delivers exceptional service. Make those quality-control metrics grounded in statistics and trackable, so that you can easily cross-check with the transcribed reports you have on record.

4) Make Sure you only Pay for What you Need

While choosing a transcription service plan, you need to thoroughly scrutinize the pricing models. Find out if it's a monthly subscription or a one-time fee. The most important thing to remember, however, is to inquire about the level of support you can bank on, if something were to go wrong.

If you are a midsize or small healthcare business, just about any transcription service will be well-equipped to control the volume of reports you produce on a regular basis. In contrast with large hospital systems, which produce ample dictation that only a large company could handle—smaller practices have the option of using smaller transcription services. You can use this to your advantage when choosing a transcription service or negotiating a contract.

You can also consider investing in a customized transcription services package that will be specifically tailored to suit the needs of your healthcare business.

5) Check if the Service Interfaces Well with your Existing Systems

Any software that you might use, either in conjunction with a medical transcription service or on your own, has to be compatible with both your practice management and electronic health record (EHR) systems.

In today's rapidly digitizing healthcare industry, the potential to produce and share records across various platforms ,both within your organization and other providers' offices, is invaluable.

Any software necessary for the transcription process needs to be able to properly communicate with all the electronic aspects of your practice. Everything needs to work together smoothly to give you optimal results.

6) Conduct thorough Research of the Provider on your part

You need to get in the habit of asking for a complete list of the company's references within your specialty, not just a fixed list of positive reviewers. Find out from other physicians in your field what their transcription service plans cost them, how they use them, and what the quality of their service is.

You can also find ample reviews online and dig up information related to the company on various public forums. When outsourcing, make sure you have looked at all the services that the company or transcriptionist is prepared to offer and if they actually do what they say they can.

Finally, you should be looking at a solution that best suits the needs of your practice and is going to be able to provide you with a decent return on investment. When done right, transcription can work wonders for your data management strategy and streamline operations like never before.

About the Author

Ben Walker is the CEO of Transcription Outsourcing that provides transcription services for the academic, medical, legal, law enforcement, and financial industries globally. A resident of Denver, Colorado, Ben enjoys tennis, hiking and watching college football. Also, he loves to help companies grow and has made relevant contributions to publications like Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc, Forbes, and the Associated Press.

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