The Importance of Medical Transcription In Healthcare

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What Is Medical Transcription?

Medical transcription, also known as MT, is an allied health profession dealing with the process of transcribing voice-recorded medical reports that are dictated by physicians, nurses and other healthcare practitioners. Medical reports can be voice files, notes taken during a lecture, or other spoken material.

Employment of medical transcriptionists is projected to decline 3 percent from 2018 to 2028. The growing volume of healthcare services is expected to continue to increase the demand for transcription services.

Why is Medical Transcription / Healthcare Documentation so Important?

What Does Medical Transcription Entail?

Before we go any further, let’s take a quick look at what exactly a medical transcriptionist (MT) does. When you visit a doctor, the doctor records all details about your physical, previous and existing ailments, prescribed medicines, lab and pathology reports, tests, and diagnoses into an audio file. An MT listens to this audio file and transcribes these reports into a document while checking for all kinds of errors. This document is now an indispensable part of your medical history which can be accessed by physicians, nurses, and other healthcare staff as and when the need arises.

The need for medical transcriptionists will exist for a long time but it is important that they are updated with the latest developments. The role of a medical transcriptionist has changed over the years and is now no longer limited to only transcribing. The medical transcriptionist must now be skilled to proofread reports and edit voice recognition draft reports as well.

Due to continuously new technologies being developed and used today, there has been a drastic change in the medical transcription field. To stay updated with these changes and developments one must be ready to accept and follow new trends.

The rapid advancement in voice recognition software gives everybody the impression that medical transcription is a fast dying trend but this is not true. As long as medical transcriptionists educate themselves with the current trends and updates on medical transcription, the career of a medical transcriptionist is here to stay. The job of a doctor is very critical and all they want is accuracy in the reports. The voice recognition software may be faster and convenient for the doctors but the accuracy levels now cannot be compared to that of humans.

A detailed patient record enhances communication between doctors and specialists from various disciplines and helps them to arrive at the best possible diagnosis and treatment options by enhancing the flow of medical information. … Accurate medical transcription is extremely crucial for claims and reimbursements.

Doctors, surgeons, nurses, and nurse practitioners have some of the most stressful and important jobs in the world. Not only do they have their patients’ lives in their hands, but they’re also urged to continue their education and constantly learn and grow to ensure they’re equipped with the latest knowledge and technology.

But aside from their day-to-day, healthcare providers are also required to keep diligent notes as part of the record-keeping process and HIPAA-compliance standards. Smaller providers employ an in-house transcriptionist to handle all recorded materials and transcribe them to a HIPAA-compliant format, but these professionals are few and far between – let alone always qualified to handle such an influx of material on a regular basis. Here’s why it’s important to choose your medical transcription provider with care:

The Importance of Reliable Medical Transcriptionists

There are plenty of reasons why medical transcription is an essential component to keeping your operating a well-tuned clock, but the following are considered to be iron-clad areas of importance:

1. Accuracy above All Else

For doctors, physicians, and primary care providers, the importance of having reliable, accurate medical documentation cannot be stressed highly enough. As doctors treat patients, they need to have medical records they can trust so they can quickly and carefully assess a patient’s condition and situation to decide the best course of action and determine the proper treatment method going forward. Furthermore, it allows them to reference their previous treatment strategies and take follow-up measures to ensure the patient doesn’t relapse or worsen as a result of complications.

2. Healthcare is Becoming More Collaborative

Even if you visit a small clinic, it’s very rare that only one doctor or healthcare provider will focus on your case, making sharing of critical patient data an essential element to ensuring proper care. Especially if a case requires multiple specialists with expertise in different fields or disciplines, sharing information and collaboration is a vital role in the heart of a healthcare facility. That’s where medical transcriptionists come in. Their records provide important medical and treatment information between multiple practitioners to ensure communication is clear and concise, ensuring everyone is on the same page. These vital transcriptions help facilitate the flow of information between one doctor and the next, ensuring the proper diagnosis and treatment options are implemented – no matter the size of the team.

3. Maintains Communication throughout the Facility

While doctors and specialists aren’t working with a patient, it falls to nursing and support staff to ensure the patient is cared for and receives the proper treatments. By having these accurate medical records, everyone in the treatment facility will have the same accurate information to keep the patient healthy and avoid complications or setbacks.

3. HIPAA Compliance

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a critical element of modern healthcare. It revolutionized medical record-keeping and compliance throughout the United States but required a considerable overhaul of record-keeping departments and standardization of written communications. Not only do these records help ensure proper care is administered to the patient, but they also serve as the basis for legal arguments should any complications occur or a lawsuit is brought upon the medical provider.

4. Consistency for Insurance Purposes

Medical records carry tremendous importance. From ensuring consistent, proper care is delivered across an entire medical staff to protecting healthcare providers from lawsuits and legal battles, there’s considerable responsibility given to medical transcriptionists. Trusting them to create accurate, consistent and HIPAA-compliant documentation of recorded materials isn’t just essential to the operations and care of your healthcare facility, it’s an important element of billing insurance companies for the cost of care administered. Medical records form the basis on which health insurance carriers are billed, meaning your facility won’t get paid without the right records.

Why Accuracy Matters – And Why Your In-House Transcriptionist May Not Be Enough

No matter the size or sophistication of your medical facility, accuracy in the transcription of medical records is of the utmost importance. Even if you employ an in-house transcriptionist to convert your recorded materials to a text format, if you’re not achieving 100% accuracy, you may run into serious legal trouble should an issue occur during treatment? Even for standard medical care, losing sight of perfect accuracy in medical records can be a huge potential exposure for the entire organization, threatening not only the future of the facility but the very medical licenses held by the doctors and providers.

In order to produce highly accurate and reliable medical transcription records, reports, and insurance invoices, your team must be skilled and trained as medical transcriptionists. Qualified transcriptionists are hard to find and even harder to train, making it difficult for smaller clinics and private practitioners to hire and retain talented employees. Even the smallest mistake can be a catastrophic blow to any medical organization, meaning you’ll need to carefully screen and test potential medical transcriptionists.

Trained medical transcriptionists undergo a formalized training process or certification from any of the following avenues:

– An associate degree from a community college

– Online medical transcription training courses

– Vocational medical transcription training courses

– Medical transcription certificates from a specialized program

Many vocational schools and community colleges offer medical transcriptionist training programs preparing students in subjects like anatomy, pharmacology, pathophysiology, medical jargon, and language and grammar skills. You can choose from online courses that can be completed in a few months to an associate degree lasting two years. Schools such as CareerStep offer online training that can be completed in as little as four months. If you have prior experience you can also work as a medical transcription editor by correcting reports generated by speech recognition software.

In the era of service-based, online providers, finding a qualified medical transcriptionist with strict adherence to HIPAA standards is actually much easier than it’s ever been. And with prices far below the overhead of hiring a full or part-time employee, it makes total sense to employ a third-party transcription provider to handle all of your organization’s sensitive medical records. HIPAA-certified and ready to sign the necessary NDA documents, professional transcription companies offer a vital element of the healthcare puzzle at a fraction of the cost of an in-house transcriptionist.

Is medical transcription the career for you?

There’s a sizeable student population who wish to make a career in healthcare but are driven away by the mere sight of blood and the thought of working in hospitals for long hours or aren’t too keen on spending years in med school. Medical transcription can work out to be a great career path for such people. Like I said before, you don’t have to work closely with patients and don’t even have to come anywhere close to a needle! This career also offers immense flexibility and allows you the freedom to work from home after you have gained some experience.

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