The Importance Of Medical Transcription In Healthcare

Medical transcription service providers are a core, inextricable part of the healthcare industry. Healthcare providers depend on medical transcriptionists to ease the burden of documentation—and believe me; it is quite the burden. Furthermore, due to medicine’s sensitive and precise nature, the partnership between healthcare professionals and medical transcriptionists must be built upon accuracy, trust, and reliability. 

In this article, you’ll learn how:

  • Healthcare professionals are at the mercy of constant paperwork. They spend excessive amounts of time on medical documentation, which can lead to burnout, impaired decision-making, decreased communication and empathy skills, medical errors, and compromised health. Medical transcription providers can mitigate this issue.
  • Medical transcription services can provide healthcare facilities with various other benefits, like cost-savings, accuracy, consistency, and HIPAA compliance. 
  • AI and speech recognition software present a unique problem as they are inaccurate. Human-powered transcription services like Ditto give physicians and other healthcare professionals the best accuracy rates in the industry. 

How Bad Is Paperwork In The Healthcare Industry? 

To some, doctors have one of the easiest, best-paying jobs in the world. You sit in an air-conditioned room, whip out the stethoscope for every other patient, do your Sherlock thing or Google the symptoms, prescribe drugs, and then get paid an average of $300 to $600 in the US for 10-15 minutes of “light work,” right? 

I don’t blame people for having that perception, as they only often see healthcare experts in patient-facing situations. Behind the scenes, however, is an entirely different matter. 

5.8 Hours Is Too Much

A study in 2021 titled Analysis of Electronic Health Record Use and Clinical Productivity and Their Association With Physician Turnover gathered data from 314 physicians to find a correlation between medical documentation and doctor resignations. They found that doctors spend up to 5.8 hours handling medical documents for every 8 hours of scheduled patient time. 

This means that doctors would have to spend nearly 14 hours a day in the clinic or hospital just to stay on top of required documentation if they spend 8 hours facing patients. Imagine doing 6 hours of unpaid overtime every day. For some jobs, 5.8 hours is practically their whole 8-hour shift if you consider the time they take for breaks and quick chats with co-workers. 

Too Many Boxes To Fill, Too Little Time

Another study in 2020 by Lorkowski et al. titled Overload of Medical Documentation: A Disincentive for Healthcare Professionals addresses the growing concern that excessive medical documentation is becoming a big factor in physician burnout. 

According to their theory, bureaucratic management requirements severely overload the medical documentation workflow. Multiple forms, duplication of information, and excessive items to be filled out are just some of the symptoms of rigid documentation structures and stringent administrative protocols. 

Yes, accurate medical records like patient summaries and medical histories are extremely important for diagnosis and treatment—but do they really have to come with a dozen or more and sometimes redundant boxes to fill? 

Are EHRs/EMRs Helping?

Furthermore, the researchers point to the seemingly counterintuitive effect of mass computerization of medical information, although the numbers for this claim are not yet conclusive. 

For example, Goldstein et al.’s Changes in Electronic Health Record Use Time and Documentation over the Course of a Decade found a slight increase in documentation time when using EHR compared to paper charts. 

Meanwhile, Joukes et al. found contrasting results in their study titled Time Spent on Dedicated Patient Care and Documentation Tasks Before and After the Introduction of a Structured and Standardized Electronic Health Record. One of the observed clinics displayed a notable decrease in documentation time, while the other one got the exact opposite. 

We Don’t Want Doctors To Look For New Jobs

Still, the discussion of computerized documentation increasing documentation time is just one factor in an existing problem. Namely, our healthcare practitioners are getting buried in paperwork and suffering from burnout. 

This can lead to resignations, increased instances of medical errors, reduced concentration, and puts the practitioner’s own well-being at risk. And if there’s anything we’ve learned during the pandemic, it’s that we need doctors. 

This is where medical transcription can help immensely. 

What Is Medical Transcription?

Medical transcription is the process of converting voice-recorded medical reports dictated by healthcare professionals into written or electronic text. In this process, the doctor, nurse, or medical practitioner records relevant information through dictation. The audio file is sent to a medical transcriptionist, who then transcribes the file into written or electronic form, as the client requires. 

Once the audio is transcribed, the transcript is sent through a review process (the quality and rigor of which depends on the transcriptionist or provider) to catch any errors and ensure clarity and adherence to medical standards. After that, the transcript is formatted according to the templates or guidelines so that they can fit into electronic health records (EHR) or electronic medical record (EMR) systems. 

What Is The Difference Between Medical Transcription And Transcription?

If you think about it, medical transcription is fundamentally similar to general transcription. However, there are notable differences that make medical transcription stand out. 

AspectMedical TranscriptionGeneral Transcription
ContentInvolves healthcare and medical-related audio recordingsEncompasses a broad range of topics from various industries
Specialized KnowledgeRequires understanding of medical terminology and practicesGenerally requires proficiency in language and subject-specific terminology
PurposePrimarily for documenting patient care and medical recordsServes various purposes depending on the context (business, legal, academic, etc.)
Typical ContentDictations from healthcare professionals, patient histories, diagnoses, etc.Business meetings, legal proceedings, interviews, podcasts, etc.
Accuracy ImportanceCrucial for patient care and continuity in healthcareImportant for clarity and understanding in diverse contexts

Applications Of Medical Transcription In Healthcare

Here are some ways medical transcription services can cover different documentation requirements with different medical specialties. 

Type of RecordingDescription
Doctor-Patient ConsultationsRecorded conversations between doctors and patients, covering 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.
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 Importance Of Medical Transcription In Healthcare

Here are some of the biggest advantages of enlisting the help of reliable medical transcribers. 

Time Savings

Doctors spend an inordinate amount of time manually recording patient histories, consultation notes, lab data, and various records by hand. Administrative staff also spend hours organizing details, assigning codes, filling forms, and handling other record-keeping tasks. 

Transcription services eliminate the need for manual documentation by reducing time spent doing essential, pesky paperwork. Doctors, nurses, and other support staff can provide verbal accounts and recordings, and a professional medical transcriptionist who understands medical terminology can take over the process and provide accurate transcription. It doesn’t end with clinical documentation and patient records, though. 

Cost Efficiency

Hiring in-house medical transcriptionists can become very expensive. Hiring costs, salaries and benefits, equipment, and office space expenses can cost as much as $100,000 per year per transcriptionist. 

Outsourcing your transcription to a reliable medical transcription provider lets you reduce in-house costs by as much as 60%. Medical facilities looking to streamline their documentation process will be hard-pressed to find a more cost-effective way than outsourced transcription solutions. 

Accuracy

Medical providers are well aware of the headaches of paperwork and documentation. Documentation of medical records is a difficult multi-step process, and any issue can negatively affect the whole procedure. Thankfully, any concern with documentation can be addressed with one solution: accuracy. 

One of the most valued advantages of medical transcription is its accuracy guarantees. Medical transcription teams work on the audio files, produce the most accurate transcripts possible, and ensure that grammar and spelling are all correct and that every nugget of information is taken down and placed in its proper field. 

While new and relatively popular, there are better options for accurate medical transcription than AI. 

AI transcription is, at best, 86% accurate, while manual transcription providers like Ditto can reach more than 99% accuracy for all projects. 

Consistency in Documentation

Consistent medical transcription from quality providers can help improve record standardization procedures outside EMR/EHR systems. Uniform records take the guesswork out of paperwork, enhance readability, and improve data structure so doctors and other private health professionals can peruse records with little fuss. 

In this case, healthcare industry members are encouraged to enlist the services of a reliable transcription company, like Ditto Transcripts, to handle their medical data. 

Compatibility With EHR/EMR

EHR and EMR systems require medical staff to input patient information into designated boxes. It should make things faster, but only some know the process. 

Reliable outsourced medical transcription providers like Ditto Transcripts can interface with almost every EHR system on the market. We can take the burden of documentation out of your hands. Physicians can take more time to focus on their patients and can live more outside work.

Here’s how we do it. 

  1. Doctors, nurses, and medical staff dictate patient information, chart notes, histories, treatment plans, medication, and other relevant EHR data.
  2. Audio recordings are sent to us via our secure cloud interface.
  3. We assign a skilled medical transcriptionist to produce and proofread the transcripts. Transcribed dictations are converted into PDFs, RTFs, or other text file formats as required.
  4. We send the completed work back to you. The transcripts, formatted into structured EHR templates, allow your system to read and auto-populate proper text fields using an HL7 interface. 

What’s more, you don’t need to worry about regulatory issues. Ditto Transcripts complies with all HIPAA requirements, processes, and protocols to ensure your data is safe and secure. 

Outsource Your Medical Record And Transcription Needs To Ditto

Here at Ditto Transcripts, we guarantee 99% accuracy rates with all medical transcription we provide for the healthcare industry, all delivered on time, every time. We offer affordable rates, flexible options, fast turnaround times, HIPAA-compliant security, and the best customer service in the industry. 

Ditto Transcripts is a HIPAA-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.

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