How To Avoid Common Medical Transcription Errors In Healthcare

Medical transcription services, essential for avoiding transcription errors in healthcare, are now a non-negotiable process for healthcare facilities worldwide. With them, healthcare professionals don’t have to allocate significant chunks of their time to managing medical records. 

However, the process comes with its own challenges, which could strain the healthcare system if not properly managed and addressed. One of these issues is the common errors in medical transcription. So, what are these common medical transcription errors, and how can transcription services help avoid them? 

In this article, you’ll learn how: 

  • Medical transcription errors can lead to serious patient safety issues, such as incorrect medication dosages or surgical procedures on the wrong body parts.
  • Medical transcription errors include homophones, misspellings, incorrect abbreviations, and wrong dosages. 
  • Ditto’s comprehensive transcription and quality control processes, which include integrating electronic health records (EHRs) and using highly trained, experienced transcriptionists, ensure that our clients get more than 99% accuracy for all transcription projects. 

The Medical Transcription Process

The medical transcription process converts dictated audio into digital or physical text files, which are used for various benefits. 

Now, the process may sound simple—essentially boiled down to “write what you hear”—yet it does have some complexity that is not readily apparent. Understanding these complexities will help us understand why transcription errors happen first, and how to avoid them in a unique setting, such as healthcare. 

So, let’s take a look at the medical transcription process step by step: 

StepDescription
Information DictationDoctors, nurses, pharmacy reps, and other healthcare providers dictate patient information, chart notes, histories, treatment plans, medication, and other relevant data.
Audio SubmissionAudio recordings from dictation mobile apps or other means are sent via a secure cloud interface.
Transcription AssignmentA skilled medical transcriptionist with experience in medical terminology is assigned to transcribe the audio. They focus on minimizing errors and converting audio into text.
File FormatsTranscriptions are saved in various text formats, such as PDFs, RTFs, or other required text file formats, depending on the facility’s needs.
Quality ControlThe transcripts undergo rigorous proofreading and quality control measures to ensure all data are accurately transcribed.
Delivery of TranscriptsOnce verified for accuracy and error-free, the transcripts are sent back to the medical facility in the preferred format.
Integration with EHR/EMRDepending on the provider, these transcripts can be directly integrated with any Electronic Health Record (EHR) or Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system using the HL7 interface.

Common Medical Transcription Errors Observed in Healthcare

Transcriptionists worldwide know how important it is to minimize or eliminate errors in their work. It doesn’t only have to do with pride or career, too.

Patient safety is the number one priority, and without an ounce of exaggeration, lives are on the line every time a transcriptionist converts audio into digital text. 

However, we’re not perfect. Medical transcriptionists, even the most experienced ones, do produce errors every once in a while. Let’s take a look at the most common ones so we’ll know what to look for: 

Homophones

Homophones are words that sound the same yet have different meanings. They are abundant in English, and figuring out which is which takes time, effort, and exposure to jargon and terminology in the field. 

To give you a common example, the words “ilium” and “ileum” are commonly mistaken. Ilium is a part of the hip bone, while ileum is part of the intestine. It doesn’t help that these two body parts are located roughly in the same region. 

Another more egregious example is the difference between the words “peroneal” and “perineal.” One refers to a portion of the leg, the other to the pelvic region. Have fun remembering which is which. 

Misspellings

Isn’t it ironic that “misspell” is one of the most misspelled words in English? So, misspelled words are a common headache for medical transcription. 

Let’s take one example from earlier: ilium/ileum. These words have one different letter, and yet any error with these in medical transcription can lead to a surgeon digging through a patient’s guts instead of their pelvic girdle. 

Wrong Abbreviations

Medical communication can be complicated, and abbreviations help ease that burden. However, they also present another front where medical transcription errors can happen. 

For example, the abbreviation “QD,” or every day, can be misheard or mistyped as “QID,” which means four times a day. A small error with these two examples, whether in transcription or handwriting, can result in a patient taking four times their dose. 

Wrong Dosage

In connection to the last statement, medication errors are a problem in healthcare. Pharmacies and specialty practices may have to dispense drugs according to spotty medication orders, in full trust that they’re accurate. 

Medication administration errors can be as simple as an extra 0 (10mg to 100mg) to issues with metric measurements (grams to milligrams). 

Unfortunately, dosage errors do happen in hospital settings more often than we’re willing to admit. A systematic review of the issue found that hundreds and thousands of people are negatively affected by medication dispensing errors in the US.

In the same study, they found that nearly 9,000 people die of the wrong medication or dosage every year. 

Omissions And Formatting Errors

Another study in a teaching hospital identified that omissions account for more than half of healthcare-related medical transcription errors. 

Omissions can happen in dosage (no measurement provided), medication (no drug provided), history (the patient indicated pain, yet there is no record as to where the pain is felt), or even condition (“diabetes” and “hypertension” are recorded as “diabetes” only). 

How Ditto’s Medical Transcription Minimizes Errors

Sure, we’re only human, and we make mistakes. However, that is no excuse for compromising patient care due to transcription errors. 

That’s why we at Ditto Transcripts have perfected our process to provide hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities with the most accurate transcripts they’ll ever get—and here’s how we do it. 

Highly-Trained, US-based Human Transcriptionists

AI transcription is cheap, sure, though only 86% accurate. Do you really want to save a few dollars and gamble on accuracy when your patients’ lives are on the line? 

Work with us, and you won’t have to worry. Ditto only hires US-based transcriptionists to provide the highest quality and accuracy in medical transcription. Our experts have a full command of English and commendable experience in the medical field. 

Having been exposed to (American) English from day one, our professionals can work with various accents and dialects. They also undergo training and feedback/coaching sessions to stay on top of their game and get the latest changes in the medical field.

Furthermore, our transcriptionists know how to use context to get the right information, using surrounding information to pinpoint which words to use. Better yet, we can ask for clarification or mark ambiguous sections in the transcript for enhanced clarity. 

Work with us, and you won’t have to risk operating on a patient’s intestines instead of their hip. 

Rigorous Quality Control

Some medical transcription companies might be okay with running an error check with Grammarly once and be done with a transcript. We’re not. 

At Ditto, all transcripts undergo several proofreading and editing processes to ensure our trademark 99% (or even more!) accuracy. 

Customizability

Here at Ditto, our clients call the shots. Formatting and style guidelines can be provided to ensure that transcripts are ready to use the moment they land in their inboxes. 

You can provide us templates for different medical departments or specialties, and we’ll make sure every transcript you receive for them is tailored to your needs and eliminates most of the common medical transcription errors in one easy process. 

Do you need classic, no-nonsense standard formats? We also provide those to ensure that all information is captured and recorded correctly and consistently. 

EHR/EMR Integration

What’s the point of having a transcript if you then need to read and manually input the data in your healthcare computer system? 

With Ditto, your transcripts can be provided in RTF (rich text format) and easily integrated into EMR/EHR systems through HL7 interfaces with a few clicks. 

Our process significantly improves documentation time, ensuring you can focus on what matters most: your patients. 

HIPAA and HITECH-compliant Security

We use the most up-to-date security measures to ensure that ever line in medical transcription goes where it’s supposed to. Our protocols include top-of-the-line encryption, redundant firewalls, on-site physical security measures, and non-disclosure agreements. 

Even better, we are HIPAA and HITECH-compliant, so you can be sure that all your transcripts are secure and fall under Meaningful Use. 

Speed And Accuracy (Without Sacrificing Either)

Yes, accuracy is non-negotiable. That doesn’t mean we get to sit on your transcripts for months to make them usable. Ditto offers STAT file deliveries in four hours or less. 

Dr. Steven B, neurosurgeon and Ditto client, says it best: 

“Getting in contact with the account manager in the hospital would take hours and sometimes days. I never had a problem getting in contact with Ditto. They understood how time-sensitive and crucial my dictations are.”

Prevent Medical Transcription Errors in Healthcare? No Sweat

Medical transcription errors are mostly borne of healthcare-related procedural issues. So, don’t settle for shoddy transcription service providers or automated solutions that make you want to ask for a refund, even if they’re free. Work with us and experience the following perks: 

  • More than 99% accuracy on all projects
  • Fast turnaround times
  • Different affordable rates for different budgets
  • Flexibility and customization
  • HIPAA and HITECH compliance
  • No lock-in periods or contracts—pay as you go
  • Multi-channel communication
  • Industry-leading customer support 

Not convinced? Call us for any questions, or take advantage of our free trial to experience what it’s like working with the best. 

Ditto Transcripts is a HIPAA-compliant, Denver, Colorado-based transcription company that provides fast, accurate, and affordable transcription services for hospitals, clinics, facilities, and individual practices of all sizes. Call (720) 287-3710 today for a free quote, and ask about our free five-day trial.

Looking For A Transcription Service?

Ditto Transcripts is a U.S.-based HIPAA and CJIS compliant company with experienced U.S. transcriptionists. Learn how we can help with your next project!