Main challenges of medical transcription and how to overcome them

Medical transcription services have been subject to multiple changes and challenges since their inception in the 1960s. Technological advancements in the healthcare industry, the evolving complexity of healthcare regulatory frameworks and process changes have necessitated a series of regular changes, thus disrupting the normal work flow followed in the medical transcription services industry. Here are the top medical transcription challenges and ways to mitigate them.

Synchronization issues The whole process of medical transcription involves the use of various devices and programs. However, these devices do not necessarily synchronize with each other, which creates a major challenge in processing dictated input into actionable output. For example, the recording devices are not correctly linked to the dictation server which prevents automatic downloads.

Solution– Medical transcription service providers use an intelligent synoptic reporting system that facilitates direct data entry. With its improved design checklists, the synoptic report system helps create complete and error-free medical reports. Medical transcription technologies help transmit complete data to the desired destination, such as the archive room or reception. Secure transmission devices also ensure complete protection of data while it is on the way from the transcriptionist.

Problems with speech recognition software There are two scenarios which create challenges in correct transcription while using speech recognition software. In the first scenario, doctors from different ethnicities will have their own unique pronunciation of medical terms. In the second scenario, during active dictation, a doctor may cough, sneeze, or yawn. Speech recognition software lacks the intelligence to isolate such scenarios and capture pronunciations and sentences. This creates transcription conflicts for different doctors.

Solution– There is a need to have the reports checked by professional medical transcriptionists who should examine them thoroughly for any abnormalities and reports. It is a fact that the majority of technologically progressive healthcare organizations rely on human experts to perform the work of medical transcription rather than relying solely on speech recognition software.

Lack of medical transcriptionists The majority of developed countries such as the United States are facing a severe shortage of qualified medical transcription professionals. Low pay and biased professional growth are believed to be the root cause of the shortage. A significant drop in payment reimbursement rates at US hospitals has constrained their budgets, which is one reason for the low pay scale offered to medical transcriptionists. A poor work environment leaves medical transcriptionists vulnerable to stress, vision problems, and other ailments that directly affect their productivity. This translates into lost wages for them and hence for people who no longer wish to become a medical transcriptionist.

Solution Healthcare organizations must outsource Medical transcription tasks to developing countries that can provide a large talent pool at reasonable rates. Medical transcription service providers in these countries are effectively reducing the excessive burden on their professionals by adopting electronic health record systems and speech recognition software. This allows professionals to deepen their focus on conducting a thorough review of transcribed reports.

Departure note

There is no doubt that outsourcing has become one of the easy answers to many of the challenges of medical transcription. However, it is up to organizations and individual practitioners to make a wise choice when selecting a provider. Ideally, they should prefer a medical transcription service provider which is located in an area that experiences a high rate of medical tourism. Such a region is expected to see an increase in medical transcription services, which will make it cheaper to pay.


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