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Absolutely Accurate News

 September 2011

Doing your Homework on Transcription Services


No one will disagree that errors cost money - in any business. Medical errors account for more deaths in America than breast cancer, AIDS or car accidents annually. In a report issued by US Pharmacopeia, transcription errors are the 5th most common cause (15%) of medication improprieties - with people over 65 being twice as likely to be harmed. A study by HealthGrades, Inc. places reported preventable deaths due to healthcare personnel mistakes at 195,000 per year.


It might seem ironic that the FDA implies that it may be dangerous to import drugs from Canada, while the healthcare industry endorses processing of radiology tests and medical records in countries where English is not the primary language, such as India and the Philippines. This substandard wage outsourcing may yield up-front financial gain, but certainly is extremely controversial with regard to patient care issues - not to mention complete indifference to national allegiance. The question is: Do the benefits outweigh the problems with inaccuracy? Must we put ourselves at risk for malpractice or other legal proceedings? Most importantly, what is the ultimate benefit to the patient?


The unfortunate truth is that bottom line concerns affect quality patient care. The transcription outsourcing market is estimated to have been 8.4 billion USD in 2010. Sweat-shop wages fall far below industry standards, as does the quality resulting in poor to mediocre end results. Outsourcing of transcription services to overseas concerns is popular and trendy these days, primarily because of cost savings - but there is an associated cost with those front-end savings. It's true that HIPAA doesn't prevent outsourcing offshore but keep in mind that the countries benefiting from this outsourcing are not bound by US laws and, in the event of a breach, it will be difficult to hold these countries accountable. Within reason, we need to all recognize that cost is secondary to acceptable quality.


Let's not forget confidentiality and secure data transfer. We are all at risk for financial and medical identity theft. Medical Identity theft consists of stealing information that allows treatment and even costly surgeries to be falsely submitted to insurance companies, as well as exposing personal information.  That bottom line is extremely costly. Protection of personal information is critically important and it takes considerable effort to keep our personal information private.


Transcription is an important part of the day-to-day operations in the medical community. I've identified two serious concerns with off-shore outsourcing - a great potential risk for errors in transcribing, as well as great potential security risk. What viable transcription options are available? Which avenue provides the best check and balance system to help avoid errors and protect confidentiality and security?


In-House Transcription. An independent study by Superior Consultant Company, Inc. indicated that a vendor solution is less costly in most cases because of additional costs and unseen variables in-house. Purchasing sophisticated systems sold as "The Definitive Solution" can cost tens-of-thousands of dollars and ultimately be cumbersome for office staff to use and may not be interactive with simple software applications or documentation requirements.


Large USA-based Transcription Companies. These companies have impressive marketing budgets and large staff bases, offering generally adequate quality and rapid turn-around. Transcriptionist's compensation is based on line-production quantity, not quality; they are rewarded for volume not accuracy.  


Single Contracted Transcriptionists.  Individual transcriptionists can offer somewhat lower prices due to the absence of overhead. Many are good; some lack credibility. Accessory coverage issues can be problematic.


Small Transcription Companies. Quality-minded, small transcription companies often can provide the most effective answer. A reputable company can provide articulate, expeditious processing with personal service dedicated to individual client requirements. Technology can assist with speed but there is no substitute for common sense. Credible companies offer proficient and accomplished staff, as well as 24/7 "On Call" support structured to fit your exact requirements and formats.

When reviewing your transcription options to entrust your professional and/or personal vital records to, there is one absolute feature that must not be compromised, and that is accuracy. Transcriptionists should be English language specialists, with English as their first language and able to properly and accurately transcribe the English language from the spoken word.

The following are a few questions to use as a guide to help you choose the right company for your needs:

  • Are all offices based in the USA?
  • Is there an Accuracy Guarantee? If so, what is it? (99% accurate = 10 mistakes on a 1,000 word document... 97% = 30 mistakes on that same document.)
  • Ability to process tapes and digital voice transfer with encrypted files?
  • What type of simple, secure electronic data transfer do you provide?
  • Is speech recognition offered, when applicable?
  • Is the staff certified, proficient and accomplished with 24/7 "on-call" support?
  • Are transcriptionists assigned to provide consistency and auxiliary coverage?
  • Secure File Transport Protocol (SFTP) server for client file transfer, located in the USA?
  • Toll-free dictation lines and unlimited on-line storage?
  • Technical knowledge and ability to directly access in-house EMR system?
  • Does the company meet/exceed the HIPAA guidelines and standards?
  • Is company a member of the Better Business Bureau or State Chamber of Commerce?
  • Member of the American Association for Medical Transcriptionists?
  • How many years of proven experience does the transcription company have?
  • Are services billed on a production basis (i.e., per page, per line, per black character); in other words, are the transcriptionists compensated for only for speed? Are services billed on an hourly basis; compensating the transcriptionist to do it right?

Here is a closing thought for Health Care Providers: Please weigh your transcription options and results carefully - for the benefit of all concerned. Don't present yourself as stated in the following actual patient record: "Patient was alert and unresponsive".


For Patients: Legislation has been introduced to keep private medical information in the United States. Contact your legislator to voice your opinion that it is not safe to send this information overseas. Communicate to your doctor your preference of keeping your medical records in the USA. Insist that your safety be put before the bottom line.


The transcription business is important to many businesses whether in the Medical Profession, Legal, Government or Business sectors. We take our business and each assignment very seriously and all of us know that accuracy is extremely important.


As transcriptionists, we don't save lives every day like many of you in the Medical community. But we are particularly mindful that our accurate transcription is very important to individuals we've never met; individuals whose well-being you have entrusted into our professional services.


For those of you that are our clients, looks like you already did your homework and selected the best.  For those that did not do their homework, we urge you to try our services or use this material to do your own research.




Mary Goehring


Transcription Plus, LLC


About Us

Client Testimonial

"They do an excellent job! On occasion I have to have a court reporter do minutes of special Public Hearings, and your staff does a much better job than a court reporter who sits here in person and takes dictation AND electronic taping. I have found with the court reporter mistakes that I have never seen your staff make. Your accuracy is certainly consistent and very high quality.  Please convey my comments to the transcribers. Thank you!" Connecticut Municipality


Click here to read more testimonials

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Referral Benefits Program

Our Referral Benefits Program offers a 10% discount (for a consecutive 4-week billing cycle) to anyone who successfully refers a client to us.  This is our way of saying THANK YOU for your support and patronage.  

Our goal here at Transcription Plus, LLC is to provide you with a service that exceeds your expectations. 

In this Issue

Doing your Homework on Transcription Services



StaffSpotlightStaff Spotlight

Katie Donovan

Katie Donovan 

Medical Transcriptionist 


Katie Donovan joined Transcription Plus, LLC in September of 2009 after receiving her MT certification from At-Home Professions. She primarily works on plastic surgery and neurological headache medical reports. Katie's attention to detail and quality make her a valued team player.

Click to read interview from Katie 


Click here to read about our staff

NewClientsWelcome New Clients

We welcome the following clients to Transcription Plus, LLC:


They are:  

Dr. Thomas A

Erica L.
Heidy M.
Raymond L.
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