The Challenges Faced By The Medical Transcription Industry

Medical transcription service providers face unique challenges in their day-to-day operations, like accuracy issues, security concerns, and delivery times. To combat this, they must improve their workflow and keep up with industry changes. Additionally, their medical transcriptionists need strong attention to detail, extensive experience in medical processes and terminology, excellent typing and listening skills, and the capability to work under strict deadlines. 

Otherwise, these companies risk exposing their clients to the massive consequences of low-quality transcription. 

In this article, you’ll learn how: 

  • Medical transcription can be used in various patient-doctor situations to improve documentation time and accuracy. 
  • Medical transcription companies face significant challenges like addressing accuracy issues, loss of trust, security and confidentiality, and delivery times. 
  • Ditto Transcripts offers expert and experienced services to cover all these challenges. We provide 100% human transcription, 99% accuracy rates, HIPAA-compliant security, and fast turnaround times. 

A Quick Introduction To Medical Transcription

Medical transcription services convert voice-recorded medical reports healthcare professionals dictate into written or electronic text. In this process, the doctor, nurse, or medical practitioner records relevant information through dictation. Medical transcription is an essential part of the healthcare sector, as healthcare providers use it to cut down on documentation time significantly, among other things. 

Is Medical Transcription Difficult?

The short answer is, “Yes. Yes, it is.” 

We deal with complicated medical terms, garbled audio, tight deadlines, and handwriting that looks more like cuneiform than modern English daily

However, despite being difficult, any challenges can be mitigated through experience, expertise, and many skill-improvement practices—and here at Ditto, we have those in spades. 

However, I’m getting ahead of myself. For now, let’s talk about when and how you can use medical transcription. 

How Transcription Is Applied To Medical Records

Medical service providers go through multi-step processes to ensure excellent patient healthcare. To that end, physicians and nurses have a lot of paperwork to cover—all of which can be eased by having audio content transcribed instead. 

Here are some of the types of patient encounters that can be recorded. 

Type of RecordingDescription
Doctor-Patient ConsultationsRecorded conversations between doctors and patients, covering patient’s medical history, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment plans.
Surgical ProceduresAudio or video recordings of surgical procedures detailing the steps and observations by surgeons and medical staff.
Medical Lectures and SeminarsEducational sessions where medical professionals discuss various medical topics, research findings, or case studies.
Patient Interviews and HistoryDetailed discussions with patients, focusing on their medical history and current health issues to improve medical records. Data can also be used to establish patient demographics. 
Radiology ReportsDescriptions and findings from imaging studies like X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans.
Lab And Pathology ReportsDetailed lab work analysis, like tissue samples, including pathologist observations and diagnoses.
Psychiatric EvaluationsTranscripts of sessions between psychiatrists and patients discussing mental health, diagnoses, and treatment plans.
Emergency Room VisitsRecords of patient visits to the emergency room, including symptoms, treatments, and observations.
Physical Therapy SessionsPhysical therapy session Notes and observations outline patient progress, exercises, and treatment plans.
Clinical Trial DiscussionsDetailed documentation of discussions and findings during clinical trials, including patient responses and data analysis.

The Challenges of Medical Transcription Services

Medical transcription companies face many challenges in providing high-quality transcripts and consistently meeting client and regulatory requirements. Here are just some of their difficulties:

Accuracy Issues

Accuracy is essential in medical transcription. There’s no ifs and buts about it. The consequences of inaccurate transcripts are heavy and far-reaching. 

However, these consequences can be more than tenfold for the medical field. Here are just some of the most common issues with inaccurate transcripts. 

Miscommunication of Medical Terms

Unfortunately, approximately 90% of adverse events due to medication errors involve miscommunication of medical terms. Misinterpreted or incorrect information, like wrong phrases and abbreviations for prescriptions, can lead to wrong diagnoses, inappropriate treatments, or medication errors, all of which can have severe or even fatal outcomes.

Medical abbreviations and terms make it faster for physicians to dictate or note important details for histories and medical procedures. Medical practitioners and employees in the healthcare industry, including those who work in transcription, must learn medical terminology to operate as safely and efficiently as possible.

For medical transcribers, producing accurate medical records may be difficult when dealing with different dialects and accents that they’re not familiar with. Physicians come from many different ethnic backgrounds, yet it should not hinder the transcription company’s ability to perform patient data entry and produce high-quality documents with high accuracy. 

Incorrect Patient Information

Have you ever heard of this joke before?

Doctor: I’ve got some good news and some bad news. What would you rather hear first?

Patient: Oh, God. Hit me with the good news first, Doc. 

Doctor: The operation was successful. 

Patient: That’s… that’s excellent. So, what’s the bad news, then?

Doctor: …we amputated the wrong leg.

Another variation is that the doctor performs the surgery on the wrong person. It’s one of those jokes that have existed for so long that nobody would be surprised if archeologists came out one day and said they found it carved on some ancient stone tablet or something. 

However, a study by Bell et al. found that out of nearly thirty thousand patients who were given access and reviewed their own medical records, 20% of them found mistakes. Out of those nearly 6,000 people, about 2,400, or 40%, consider the error serious. 

So, to us, it may all just be a joke; to medical professionals and patients, it is a significant and ever-present risk. 

Medical transcription can help ensure the accuracy of patient records—provided they get the services of an accurate, reliable transcription service provider like Ditto. Dictated healthcare reports can be turned into pristine, accurate written records with little to no effort from the healthcare provider. Aside from that, recordings can be used for counterchecking documentation, giving doctors and hospitals plenty of options and recourse in worst-case scenarios. 

Rapidly Changing Technology And The Fear of Being Left Out

I firmly believe that the use of technology should be contextualized. As the old quote says, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” 

With technological advancements and AI growing in popularity, some medical transcription service providers raced to incorporate speech recognition software and technology into their process. So, they automate transcription, proclaiming fast turnaround times and cheaper rates. Certainly, this solution hits time restraints, as now they can meet tight deadlines without hiring skilled medical transcriptionists. 

However, automated transcription software does not beget accurate transcription. 

Trusted sources indicate that AI only produces transcripts that are only 86% accurate. Such low accuracy rates expose transcription companies—and, by extension, the doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers they work with—to the many, many potential consequences of incorrect transcripts. Human medical transcriptionists may be slower but better at providing accurate medical transcription. 

Loss of Trust And Regulatory Issues Due To Transcription Errors

Physicians and nurses put in years to finish med school, gain the requisite knowledge, and increase their professional standing to make it in the medical field. All that can be lost with any error in healthcare, including transcription. 

With so many things hanging in the balance, it’s no surprise that patients and their loved ones can lose trust in healthcare professionals due to incorrect transcription. This significant loss of trust can have long-term implications for the patient-provider relationship and the institution’s or medical personnel’s reputation. 

Furthermore, despite being rich with medical phrases and complicated medical abbreviations, medical records are critical legal documents. Inaccuracies can lead to non-compliance with regulations like HIPAA. While on the subject of HIPAA—

Patient Privacy And Confidentiality

Confidentiality is one of the biggest concerns in medicine and transcription. Healthcare providers are given daily access to sensitive patient information, and regulatory mandates like HIPAA are put in place to protect them. 

However, not all transcription companies are HIPAA-compliant. Healthcare organizations should consider security as the biggest factor impacting their choice of transcription provider. Additionally, providers must consider whether these transcription companies can securely interface with their EHR or EMR. Even if the transcriptionists can accurately capture and transcribe content, it wouldn’t matter if their transcripts are provided while violating HIPAA guidelines. 

Turnaround Times And Expertise

Turnaround time is a critical aspect of medical transcription, directly impacted by expertise. The field of medicine, by its nature, cannot be stagnant. A lot can change in just a few years. Procedures can be outdated; standard terms can be scrubbed out of the lexicon. 

Even disregarding the ever-changing nature of medicine, the existing processes and terminologies are complicated enough as they are. Healthcare documentation has a lot of ins and outs, too, and anybody unfamiliar with how things go is liable to become a drag to the workflow instead of improving it. 

Additionally, not being familiar with medical terms tends to increase turnaround times. Transcriptionists must have the requisite experience in the medical field, or else they’ll drown in abbreviations and terminology.

Get Access to Expert Medical Transcriptionists With Ditto

That’s why transcription companies need to be able to hire the best candidates for medical transcription jobs and train them consistently to face the challenges of medical transcription. This, in turn, can significantly affect accuracy, turnaround time, or both. 

Thankfully, here at Ditto, we have a solid medical transcription team with decades of relevant experience between them. Every transcriber knows what is needed for medical transcription and can produce high-quality transcripts without compromising delivery time, accuracy, or quality. We offer 99% accurate rates, 100% human-powered transcription, affordable and transparent rates, and quick turnaround times. 

Ditto Transcripts is a HIPAA-compliant and CJIS-compliant Denver, Colorado-based medical transcription services company that provides fast, accurate, and affordable transcripts for individuals and companies 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!