A quality medical transcription service is a necessary expense for most medical practices.
Although it's possible to offload your transcription to a staff member within the practice, it's unlikely that your staff member will have the training or bandwidth to make it a viable alternative. In fact, in-house medical transcription using either a part-time transcriptionist or other staff member is probably your costliest option.
In some ways, medical transcription continues to function the same way it always has. A physician dictates notes that are passed along to a transcriptionist who then converts them into electronic text. Sounds simple, right?
Not anymore. Improvements in technology have given both physicians and transcription services more choices than ever before. Combined with HIPAA privacy requirements, this has led to a minor transformation of the industry. Here's a brief overview of what the industry looks like these days.
Service offerings for medical transcription services
The days of delivering dictated notes on micro cassettes are long gone. In the current healthcare environment, medical transcription services receive physician's notes either by phone or the Internet. The phone option is probably the easiest. All it requires is for the physician to call in his/her notes on a toll-free line provided by the transcription service. But for a higher quality recording, many doctors choose to dictate into a digital recording device. Audio files are then transmitted through the Internet. Regardless of how they receive audio notes, professionals who have been trained in medical terminology then transform it into word processing files (e.g. MS Word documents).
- Security. Privacy concerns are a big issue in medical transcription. HIPAA regulations prohibit medical providers from sending patient notes through standard e-mail. Instead, medical transcription services that accept electronic audio files provide a secure Internet connection, often accompanied by a custom software application.
- Scope of services. If you're just looking for a basic medical transcription service there are a number of transcription service providers that fit the bill. But many others offer a broad scope of services that archive and catalog physicians' notes for easy retrieval.
- Convenience. If you want to avoid the additional step of downloading electronic audio files, you should consider a phone-based medical transcription service. But whatever option you choose, select a service that is convenient for your practice's physicians and front-end personnel.