Outsourced Medical Transcription Services and Patient Care

The primary goal of every healthcare facility is to maximize profits while providing quality healthcare. Achieving this goal would require a three-pronged approach:

  • Increase focus on quality healthcare
  • Decrease expenses towards activities that are not part of the core process
  • Accelerate cash flow

Outsourced medical transcription has a role to play in all the three steps involved in achieving the goal of the healthcare facility.

What role does medical transcription play in increasing focus on quality healthcare?

Apart from the qualification and expertise of the healthcare professional, one of the main inputs for quality healthcare is accurate information. Outsourcing ensures that the medical records are created accurately and on time by expert transcriptionists who are well versed in the language related to the specialty of the healthcare professional. This ensures that all the details of the patient-healthcare professional encounter are captured completely and accurately.

The information captured in patient records aids the healthcare professional by providing information on the following:

  • A brief about the patient history and physical examination
  • Existing health conditions if any
  • Information on the current medication used and allergies if any
  • Past symptoms and diagnosis
  • Drugs/procedures/tests/therapies prescribed
  • Results of tests
  • Progress made by the patient

What role does outsourced medical transcription services play in decreasing expenses towards non-core activities?

One of the main benefits of outsourcing is that it not only reduces the cost per line, it also allows the healthcare facility to maximize focus towards providing quality healthcare. Resources like cost of direct employees, management staff, real estate, capital expenses for transcription equipment, cost of utilities for in-house transcription, Information technology (IT) for in-house transcription, and working capital requirements for transcription in-house can be redirected for other uses.

What role does medical transcription play in accelerating cash flow?

Creation of medical records is the first step in the receivables cycle. By outsourcing, patient records are created accurately and on time. Speedy creation of records ensures that the process of reimbursement is quickened, leading to shortening of the receivables cycle. This helps accelerate the cash flow.

It can be concluded that outsourcing helps the healthcare facility focus on providing quality healthcare; helps reduce expenses and speeds up the reimbursement process. To reap maximum benefits of outsourcing, a healthcare facility needs to evaluate the service provider based on the following criteria:

  • Accuracy: This means the percentage of accuracy of the completed transcripts as against what was dictated. A minimum of 99{c66b10e9cbb0dd4ae322bbe8793aef26e887819d9224ac46799d38bddff29d80} and above would be acceptable.
  • Turnaround time: Turnaround time refers to the time taken to revert the transcribed report to the healthcare facility. A turnaround time of not more than 24 hours for normal reports and 4-12 hours for STAT reports would be considered ideal.
  • Data security: The service provider being outsourced to should be HIPAA and HITECH compliant. The vendor has to have adequate security measures to ensure that the confidential data transmitted back and forth is safe and secure.
  • Pricing: Reduced costs is one of the main benefits that a healthcare facility hopes to have, from the outsourcing option. Pricing should be fair and reasonable for the services rendered. Pricing method should also be transparent and simple so that both parties can verify the same at any stage of the process
  • Technology: The technology used by the medical transcription service provider should not only secure but should also be easy to use, without having to require extensive training.
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