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Home / Archives for August 2014
It’s that time of year again when healthcare organizations are scrutinizing their budgets and finding ways to be more efficient. One cost-saving strategy that shouldn’t be overlooked is the wise use of dictation and transcription.
Dictation through electronic medical record systems can be time-consuming. While EMR-based clinical documentation has become the norm at hospitals, a 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association reported that dictating into an EMR resulted in lower quality of care and lower physician satisfaction. For many of those physicians, greater use of dictation and transcription as part of a broader documentation management program could represent a faster, easier and more cost-effective way to document their patient encounters.
EMR voice-recognition programs have proved cumbersome for many physicians to use. Physicians are spending too much of their valuable time dictating, typing and editing patient encounters, which impacts their productivity—and their organization’s bottom line. What’s more, once patient encounters are documented, other staff is involved tracking and managing those records. But there’s good news: Meaningful Use allows health care providers to use dictation and transcription to document sections of the patient encounter not specifically cited as needing to be structured.
Medical Transcription Service Organizations (MTSO) can save organizations from dictation time and frustration as well as help fine-tune an organization’s documentation management. Physicians’ workflows can be improved when organizations allow transcriptionists to transcribe, edit and incorporate patient encounters into EMRs.
For instance, with Silent Type’s iOS dictation application—a deferred voice recognition software program—a provider’s dictation results in a draft document that is routed along with the original voice file to one of our transcriptionists. Once that draft document is edited and finalized, it’s uploaded to our Silent Type Automated Records System (STARS), where it can be accessed by a provider and incorporated into an EMR. Importantly, our cloud-based server also securely stores and manages this data, a feature our clients have come to rely on when they have difficulty accessing records in their own system.
Sometimes, cost saving measures can backfire. Many organizations are trying to be more efficient and cost conscious is outsourcing medical transcription overseas. But what they’re saving in money is costing them in accuracy. The error rate of MTSOs offshore is significantly higher than MTSOs in the United States, whose error rate is 1 to 2 percent. One study showed that offshore transcription suffered from an error rate of 23 percent. Because the charts they receive are lower quality, providers need to hire additional staff—thus increasing their soft costs—to double check for accuracy, negating any savings they hoped to achieve by sending work offshore.
Medical transcription continues to bring value to providers. By sparing physicians the time-intensive task of typing and editing lengthy EMR notes and quickly turning around accurately transcribed documents, MTSOs are playing an important support role to organizations working to keep costs down.
Photo credit: Emma Kate (cc)
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