Medical practices big or small are dependent on timely and accurate medical transcription and need to be absolutely certain that their vocal dictations will be transcribed into accurate well-presented documents. Quality of the transcription or report is vital because it further impacts patient care, decisions by other doctors who are referred, as well as the insurance companies reviewing claims. Some practices still do engage secretaries for medical transcription while others have moved to Voice Recognition Software to digitally translate verbal dictation into the written word. Unfortunately, both systems require additional overseeing and verification as they do not assure error free reports -anon-negotiable in the medical field. The third option gaining ground is outsourcing to third party. Today almost 75% of US healthcare companies are outsourcing work to other locations.
Outsourcing medical dictation has many advantage sand it is important to choose the right partner agency for this critical activity. Here are some pointers to help you make right decision.
1.Domain Experience: As the old saying goes Practice makes a man perfect, same goes while choosing the right transcription partner. It helps to evaluate previous experience or work done in medical transcription to ensure that the company is well conversant with acceptable processes and procedures like HIPAA.
2.Quality of Medical Transcriptionist: The core of a Medical Transcription partner is its resources. Well trained and experienced Medical Transcription team would be comfortable with complex medical terminologies and deliver high quality reports.It’s possible that the documents you need transcribed might be different from other specialties. So it’s important that the company you partner with has experience in serving your specific areas. This can be done by checking references or by asking for samples of work done previously.
3.Data Security: Patient confidentiality is paramount from professional and legal perspectives. The medical transcription partner should be using HIPAA complaint processes or technology platforms like ChartNet.
4.Data accuracy and quality:Accurate data entry is an important characteristic as it determines the reliability of the transcription.A good transcription partner will offer two or four layers of quality assurance. This means, at least three individuals will oversee the document before it is sent to you. It is a good practice to ask how many layers of quality control are integrated in the process to ensure high quality, error free output.
5.Turn around Time (TAT):In today’s digital world, speed and accuracy are of essence. Acceptable turnaround time is 24 hours so that you can respond to your patient’s needs at the earliest. Some documents can be completed even more quickly at additional cost for prioritizing it, however for standard documentation, if a company’s turnaround time is much longer than 24 hours; you might want to review other vendors as well.
6.Linguistic and accent experience: Dialects and pronunciations can change the way we interpret something with disastrous results. Dialects can change even from coast to coast, and the differences are magnified when the doctor and medical transcriptionist are in two separate geographies. It’s very important that your transcription partner has resources who are trained and experienced in the medical transcription business; accent sensitized and have a good command over English.
7.Consider what works for you. There is no single solution for choosing the right partner or service. It’s always a good idea to understand the needs and workflow of your practice, preferences of your staff and specialty services you offer before deciding what suits you best. Choosing the right partner and service is essentially about how you work, volume of documentation you handle and what you can adapt to most easily. Do view transcription from different perspectives before you take a decision.
8.Choose the features you need. There are many vendors and even more alternatives to choose from. Vendors often include many optional features to the service element. Not all of them would be relevant to your needs or useful to your staff. Its makes sense to study the pricing models, find out one-time fee or monthly charges, level of technical support, cost of software updates and only pay for what you need.
9.Software interface. It’s important to check if the software interfaces with the existing systems you are using or might use in future. You also need to ensure that the software is compatible with your EHR and practice management system as you will need to share records across platforms i.e. in office as well as to other providers.
Finally, do explore the possibility of a short term contract initially so that you have the option of withdrawing in case of any issues. With more and more companies offering a wide spectrum of transcription services it is easy to forget that it is essentially about accurate transcription, good turnaround time, cost saving, technical support and interoperability.