Technology Changes Everything – The Evolution of Transcription

the evolution of transcription technology has come a long way

If the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy (or any other natural disaster for that matter) taught us anything, it’s how heavily we rely on technology for everything nowadays.

Now, this is not a new or groundbreaking idea, but it is interesting to look back just 20 years or so and examine how we used to do the jobs that were once so simple. Transcriptionists, for example, used to need to be in the same room as the dictator. Then came digital recorders, and high-speed computers and internet and online platforms – all have revolutionized an industry that was once done mostly by secretaries.

Transcriptionists today rely on equipment like foot pedals, computers, the internet and programs like Microsoft Word or Express Scribe to get their job done and the files back to their clients. But this was not always the case. The evolution of transcription technology has really changed in the past 50 years. Prior to word processors (the predecessor to computers) in the 1980s, typewriters were used, which meant that a transcriptionist either had to be in the same room as the dictator or (later, once recording was more widely used) have a playback system to hear the dictator’s voice on tape. Most dictators had a secretary close by to “take a note” for them. Or, in the case of medical transcriptionists, they would wheel around a typewriter on wheels to type medical records notes in a patient’s room. Or – worse – try to decipher a doctor’s handwriting and put into a formatted and complete medical note. Once a note was complete it needed to be printed, the dictator would write corrections on it, and hand it back to the transcriptionist who would make the edits by retyping the document.

Word processing or early computer models offered minimal advantages or progress to the evolution of transcription technology. Although they had more functions than typewriters (easier correction of mistakes, able to print multiple copies easily, ability to store documents on disks for later use, etc.,) it wasn’t until the internet evolved that the evolution of transcription technology really took off.

The internet and, more importantly, faster download speeds have changed the transcription industry forever. Where once rows of typists sat in large corporations, now the majority of transcriptionists work remotely. Voice files can be uploaded to an online platform, downloaded anywhere in the world with a sufficient internet connection, and files are transferred back online or through email. Medical transcriptionists can pull up pictures of x-rays or scanned intake notes from an online server in seconds and create a complete medical record note from home. Online platforms host reports and can interface with EMR or other systems to make the notes available whenever and wherever dictators want. And now smartphone apps that support recording, storing and managing of files from anywhere allow even more on-the-go access for dictators.

What was once a 9 – 5 job has become a global 24-7 industry, which doesn’t show signs of slowing down. Who knows what the next 5 or 10 years will bring?

Transcription Outsourcing, LLC is a Denver, Colorado-based transcription company that provides fast, accurate and reliable transcription services for individuals and companies of all sizes. Call 720.287.3710 today for a free quote, and ask about our free five-day trial.