your Homework on Transcription Services
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
- 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"
- Are transcriptionists
assigned to provide consistency and auxiliary
- 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
- Does the company
meet/exceed the HIPAA guidelines and standards?
- Is company a member
of the Better Business Bureau or State Chamber
- Member of the American
Association for Medical Transcriptionists?
- How many years of
proven experience does the transcription company
- 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?
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".
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
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
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.
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.