What is Medical Transcription?

Doctors, nurse practitioners, surgeons, and other healthcare providers have important, stressful jobs. They’re on their feet all day, doing everything they can to help the patients in their care. However, a lot can get in their way, and many frequently express frustration in getting so bogged down with paperwork that it limits their time with their patients.

Medical transcriptions are reports typed into text from a dictated audio file that a physician or other healthcare provider records. These can provide several benefits that can both save time and money.

In this article, you’ll learn how: 

  • The number one task that can use up too much time in the healthcare industry is documentation. These healthcare documentation requirements can include everything from clinical summaries to surgery notes. Taking an audio recording and turning it into a written document needed for their records, insurance claims, and patient’s medical charts can take some providers a few hours daily.
  • Automating medical transcription is not recommended since speech-to-text is less accurate than manual transcription. 
  • Ditto Transcripts meets all the criteria for a reliable transcription provider. Not only that, we also offer significant benefits and cover a wide range of specialties for different transcription jobs. 

Benefits Of Professional Medical Transcription Services

The medical field can use some time off from documentation, but there are other things you will enjoy when you get the services of a provider with proven experience in the medical field. 

Here are just some of the most important benefits of medical transcription. 

BenefitDescription
Improved AccuracyEnsures precise transcription of medical records, reducing the risk of errors that can affect patient care.
Time EfficiencyIt frees up medical professionals’ time, allowing them to focus more on patient care than documentation.
Cost-EffectivenessReduces the need for in-house transcription resources, saving on staffing and equipment costs.
Data SecurityOffers secure handling and storage of sensitive medical information, complying with regulations like HIPAA.
AccessibilityProvides easy access to organized and searchable medical records for healthcare providers.
ConsistencyMaintaining uniformity in documentation is crucial for medical history and treatment tracking.
HIPAA ComplianceEnsures documentation meets legal and medical standards, reducing liability risks.
FlexibilityOffers scalable services to handle varying volumes of medical transcription needs.
CustomizationCan tailor services to specific medical specialties or requirements.
Enhanced CollaborationFacilitates better communication among healthcare teams through clear and accurate records.

What Is Outsourcing Medical Transcription Like? 

When you hire Ditto Transcripts, all you need to do is send us your audio files, and we’ll convert them into a transcript formatted exactly how you need it to be. Medical transcription services are specific, of course, to those in the healthcare profession. 

Many nonmedical businesses can hire general transcriptionists to transcribe their audio files. This isn’t an option for healthcare providers. With specialized medical industry language, more complicated formatting, and privacy concerns related to HIPAA and HITECH, it’s essential to work with a specialized medical transcription company like Ditto Transcripts.

The healthcare provider then dictates office visits, emergency room visits, diagnostic imaging (radiology) studies, op notes, chart reviews, discharge summaries, and more. They review their findings, what happened during an appointment or procedure, and detail potential next steps. These dictations can be called in through a secure phone call or uploaded digitally to be shared via encrypted email or secure HIPAA-compliant apps with their transcription service provider. 

These dictations are often crucial for patients’ medical histories, insurance claims, and the immediate diagnosis and treatment process. This is true whether a single doctor is treating a relatively simple problem or if there’s an entire team working on a complex diagnosis. 

However, it’s much faster for someone to glance at a transcribed clinical summary to assess a diagnosis or treatment options than to listen to a three-minute-long audio file that could be corrupted over time.

Medical transcriptionists don’t simply transcribe audio files and hand over a big block of text. They’ll edit and properly format reports exactly how you need them to, then safely return them through your EHR or secure digital format. Physicians can then review them and make or request updates if necessary. 

Who Does Medical Transcription Work? 

Many healthcare providers spend a few hours or more transcribing their notes at the end of every day. Some hire an expensive in-office medical assistant to help and still find that sometimes the records take too long. They’re too expensive to do at this point, or inaccuracies show up because they take advantage of any untrained individual who wants to become a medical transcriptionist. 

A medical transcription services company is the best solution. You can outsource medical transcription work to an agency like ours here at Ditto Transcripts. We have transcriptionists trained in creating and transcribing various medical documents. Let’s examine what makes a medical transcription services company different and how it can benefit you, your practice, and your patients. 

How Do You Become A Medical Transcriptionist?

Medical transcriptionists require more training and knowledge of medical terminology than a general transcriptionist job. The medical transcription process is also different in that medical dictations are typically not transcribed verbatim. Rather, specific medical information is taken from the dictation and used on digital charts (EHR or EMR systems) or otherwise summarized for ease of access. 

The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity or AHDI (formerly the American Association for Medical Transcription) also offers two options for medical transcription certifications: a Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) certificate and a Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) certificate. 

Both certifications for transcriptionists and medical coders require them to pass several tests, including the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) certification exam. 

Reliable transcription service providers like Ditto Transcripts hire certified transcriptionists with proven track records and proficiency in medical terminology. That way, we can offer the highest quality services to healthcare professionals. 

What About Voice to Text or Voice Recognition Software vs Medical Transcription? 

We’re all busy, and the whole world is trying to find new ways to automate every single task possible. Some tasks, however, work better when completed manually, and medical transcription is one of them.

Many electronic health record systems today do have built-in speech recognition and dictation storage options, and some even feature native transcription features. Automated transcription services, however, are the last thing that medical professionals need to be using.

While they’ll get the gist of the basic dictation, they can misunderstand any given phrase and transcribe it as something completely different. This results in inaccurate patient records, clinical summaries, and surgical reports, which can endanger patients. The only way to catch it would be a careful manual review of the original text file while listening to the dictation and making the edits themselves.

No one has time for that, especially not extremely busy physicians and other medical providers. Moreover, having trained, experienced workers listen to and transcribe the audio files is a natural fail-safe. 

Is There A Security or HIPAA Violation Risk to Outsource Your Transcription? 

Once healthcare providers understand how medical transcription works, there’s typically one question that they’ll ask immediately: Is this a security or HIPAA violation risk? 

The answer is simple: No risk is involved if you choose a trustworthy, reputable agency specializing in medical transcription and following several safety protocols. 

You must choose the right agency to guarantee patient protection and practice protection. 

Medical transcriptionists are skilled in medical terminology, including understanding and acting in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). 

They understand the sensitive nature of the documents they’re transcribing while only accepting and sending files on a secure network. We also run criminal background checks on our employees and independent contractors.

Discretion and confidentiality are necessary here at our agency, where we take all industry regulations, including HIPAA and HITECH, very seriously. 

Medical transcription can be done online through secure connections. You can also have one or some of our in-house team members visit your offices to provide onsite transcription services. This will keep data on-premises—digitally or otherwise. It all comes down to your preference and your comfort levels. 

Why Medical Transcription Is Cost Effective

Hiring medical transcriptionists can sound expensive. In reality, hiring qualified agencies like ours is a much more cost-effective solution than other options. 

Consider the different choices available to you:

  • Healthcare providers can add extra hours to their day to transcribe their notes, which either costs them time off or the time they could be with their patients and make more money. 
  • You could hire medical assistants to transcribe the notes. This comes at a cost, however, as medical assistants typically require salaries ranging from $35,000+ per year and benefits that can be hugely expensive to employers. 
  • You can hire a transcriptionist part-time or full-time, though there’s a downside here, too. As the chart demonstrates below, hourly rates, benefits, and everything else with traditional employees are incredibly expensive. 
Annual Transcription Cost Analysis Chart

Hiring a medical transcription company like ours will get you highly trained and experienced medical transcriptionists with an average cost of $0.10- 0.14 per line. No contracts are required, and we can produce much more (or more!) than a single in-house transcriptionist since we have a full team available to you. Our accuracy rates are higher than most other agencies or in-house workers can offer as well. 

How to Choose a Medical Transcription Service 

Many transcription companies are out there, and an extensive chunk offer medical transcription services. It can be challenging to know who to choose, though there are several different qualities you should look for in any agency you hire. 

Rahul Varshneya, Cofounder of medical software development company Arkenea, had great advice on the subject:

 “When choosing a transcription service for your facility, you should consider one that is compatible with your current electronic medical records (EMR) system if your practice has one. Many services offer EMR integration and free technical support so that transferring and filing patient records is easy.”

Ditto Transcripts, for example, will accept all types of audio files and even come to work in your office. Not all agencies are so flexible; some may have systems incompatible with your EMR system and the files it produces. 

What Else to Look For?

You’ll want to look for American-based companies that are HIPAA compliant. These agencies are working at the highest level of security possible. They will go out of their way to ensure that all privacy, security, and HIPAA regulations are followed carefully.

Look for agencies with legitimate US addresses and government registrations, such as SAM, and their business licenses are in good standing with whatever state they are registered within.

Keep in mind that while agencies outside of the country may offer slightly cheaper rates, they’re prone to higher rates of inaccuracies in transcription and much more likely to put you at a major security risk. 

Several years ago, a transcription company in India caused a huge data breach when medical files belonging to 32,000 US patients were indexed by Google (hacked), and that is far from the only case. 

The last thing to look for is a clear process that the agency has in place to deliver the work well and on time. Most agencies will have processes that include file submission (s), transcription, quality assurance, report delivery, and file storage.

The agency should be able to define clear turn-around times (TAT), which often vary from 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, or 48 hours after submission in medical transcription services. Check to see if the agency offers STAT delivery times, which can assure rush delivery when needed (though often at a rate increase). 

Here’s a quick summary of what to look for:

  • American-based companies with business licenses, addresses, and bank accounts
  • Government registrations and certifications
  • Transparent billing structures and payment options
  • Clear turn-around times are available, and processes are in place to guarantee accuracy and quality
  • Accepts whatever type of audio files your EMR produces 
  • HIPAA and HITECH-compliant 
  • Experienced with specialized medical transcription services
  • High guarantees of accuracy 
  • Appropriate insurance policies, such as general liability and cyber liability

Medical Transcription Services Specialty Areas

If you’re considering medical transcription services and are worried you won’t find someone with experience in your specific field, you can rest easy! We offer all of the following specialty services for transcription and more: 

  • Adolescent and pediatric medicine
  • Allergy immunology
  • Anesthesiology reports
  • Cardiology reports
  • Cardiology transcription
  • Chart notes
  • Clinical notes
  • Clinical summary (ies)
  • Cytopathology reports
  • Dental report and transcription
  • Dermatology reports and transcription
  • Discharge summaries
  • Doctor Note Transcription
  • Electrophysiology Reports
  • Emergency Room
  • Endocrinology
  • ENT Reports
  • Family Practice transcription services
  • Gerontology transcription and reports
  • Group practice work
  • OB/GYN – Gynecological transcription
  • H & Ps
  • Hematology reports
  • Hepatology transcription service
  • Infectious disease reports
  • Internal medicine
  • Neurology transcription
  • Ophthalmology transcription
  • Oncology reports
  • Orthopedic transcription
  • Pathology transcription
  • Patient notes
  • Pediatric transcription
  • Podiatry transcription
  • Progress notes
  • Psychiatry transcription
  • Psychology transcription
  • Pulmonary transcription
  • Radiology transcription
  • Surgery notes transcription – pre-op and post-op

If you’re looking for something a little different and don’t see it on our list, you can contact us here to learn more about what we can do for you. 

Conclusion 

Medical transcription services are highly specialized, and our people are well-trained and experienced. We can help you speed up your process, help more patients, and have stronger, more accurate records than ever before, all at a lower cost than any other option.

Interested in seeing how our medical transcription services can help? There’s no risk in setting up a no-obligation call, so get in touch and learn more about what we can do for you. 

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

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