Key Factors to Take Care of While Outsourcing Medical Transcription

Medical transcription deals with transcribing a physician’s dictations into written documents. It is an important part of a physician’s practice. Other than the physician, the quality of the transcription is important to the quality of healthcare delivery, the patient, medical professionals, and the insurance companies that use the transcripts while reviewing claims.

The demand for transcription services has spawned a large number of agencies that provide transcription services. However, often, a profusion of options can be overwhelming and make the act of choosing the right agency for transcription services confusing. It helps to keep some key considerations in mind when choosing an agency for your medical transcription needs. The factors to consider include:

  • Transcription Experience. When faced with the task of choosing from among multiple transcription agencies, it becomes vital for healthcare institutions and medical personnel to consider the experience of the agency in providing transcription services. This experience includes both – the quantum of work undertaken and the quality of clients. It is also important to ascertain the length of time that the agency under consideration has been in business. In addition to agencies, one could also consider engaging the services of freelance transcribers. Since medical transcription is quite well-paying and the high demand for these services, the number of individuals offering freelance transcription services is also high. While engaging freelancers, the extent of due diligence required – is the same as that when engaging agencies.
  • Online Performance Reviews. After drawing out a shortlist of candidate agencies for outsourcing the medical transcription jobs, checking online reviews of their performance posted by the agency’s past clients would be a good next step. A demonstrable record of satisfied past clients helps illustrate the work history of the agency and its experience in delivering reliable transcription services. Agencies with more negative reviews than positive ones can be removed from the shortlist.
  • Work Turnaround Time. The turnaround time for transcription, promised by the agency, is an important consideration in the final choice of the agency. Typically, agencies providing medical transcription services promise a turnaround time of 24 hours. This enables the healthcare team to respond to their patient’s needs efficiently and effectively. However, some transcription jobs can be completed faster, and many agencies will provide shorter turnaround times for an additional fee. However, for standard transcription services, if the agency specifies a turnaround time that is substantially longer than 24 hours, you could consider other agencies on the shortlist. Substantially longer turnaround times and repeated delays will adversely impact administrative workflow and patient care.
  • Certified Transcription Personnel. The qualification of the personnel who will be working on your transcription jobs is a key determinant of work quality. Qualified transcription personnel will have in-depth knowledge of transcription standards, will understand medical terminology, and will be conversant with HIPAA requirements. The qualification and experience of the personnel determine their ability to deal with the nuances of transcription work such as – different dialects and accents, slang, colloquialisms, and other cultural nuances. All of this contributes to improving the overall quality of the delivered work.
  • Quality Assurance Framework. The skill of the person doing the transcription and the ability of the person proofreading has an outsized influence on the accuracy of the transcripts. Cost cannot be the only consideration when picking the agency to be engaged for the transcription service. In the case of agencies that offer an extremely low rate for transcription services, it may be a reflection of the poor quality of personnel they employ and their poor work and quality assurance practices. It is always a good idea to ask the agency for a sample of their work. Reviewing the sample will help evaluate the accuracy and quality of their work.
  • Legal Aspects. It is also important to choose a HIPAA-compliant transcription agency. This will provide the assurance that the medical data shared will be secure. It also helps to ask the agency for references. The more the number of client references, the better it is to evaluate the suitability of the agency for your transcription needs.
  • Technological Skills. The technical infrastructure available with the agency is key to meeting client requirements. Healthcare is increasingly moving towards adopting Electronic Health Record (EHR) software. A transcription services agency that can deliver EHR integration and provide the necessary tools for the physicians and staff to navigate the system should be preferred over the other agencies. 

Also, the transcription agency chosen should have the technology to interface with your existing systems. Furthermore, the agency should have the technical competence to recommend and undertake periodic system updates. The transcription agency should also have the capability to create applications customized for your needs.

  • Billing. Transcription agencies follow multiple billing methodologies. Understanding these myriad billing methodologies can be confusing. When comparing billing methodologies, compare apples to apples. Also, ask the agency to specify the counting methodology and the procedure for its verification.
  • Customer Service. Customer service is key to a smooth interface with the agency. 24×7 availability of technical support is a must. Any technical issue that might arise needs to be resolved expeditiously with no or minimum delay. Efficient customer service is a combination of trained personnel and well-oiled execution.

End Note

Saving time and money are key considerations for outsourcing medical transcription. In addition, enhanced efficiency and HIPAA compliance are also important factors. This makes the choice of the right medical transcription services and the right medical billing services extremely important.