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4 Tips for Choosing a Medical Transcription Service

AUTHOR: SyberScribe, September 25th, 2019

Need to outsource medical transcription? A transcriptionist can save you time by writing out the audio recordings of your notes, patient charts, or communications with other medical professionals. But with so many medical transcription services out there, it can be hard to choose the best one for your organisation. So here are some tips to help you make the right decision.

What makes good medical transcription?

Good medical transcription depends on the skills of the transcriptionist. For example, a good medical transcriptionist will have the following skills:

Knowledge of medical terms

This covers basics like anatomy, physiology, and common medications and procedures, as well as terms unique to medical specialisations like urology or cardiology.

Accurate typing

A medical transcriptionist has error-free spelling and can identify the right medical terms used in the audio recordings, ensuring the right diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Fast typing speed

A medical transcriptionist can produce transcriptions within deadlines, such as within 24-48 hours.

Impeccable punctuation, grammar and syntax

This ensures that patient diagnoses aren’t jeopardised and an organisation isn’t exposed to legal or compliance issues.

Multitasking skills

A medical transcriptionist can stay aware of other deadlines, coordinate their work schedule, and listen and type at the same time. In turn, this helps them produce accurate transcripts, manage their workload, and meet deadlines.

Computer literacy

A medical transcriptionist can access, work on, and submit their work through a computer system. In turn, this enables them to work faster, be more accurate, and use transcription tools like spell check, text expanders, foot pedals, and audio enhancers.

Analytical and problem solving skills

This allows a medical transcriptionist to create complex reports from the recordings, edit documents according to provided formats, and catch any errors and inconsistencies before submitting the documents.

Strong listening skills

A medical transcriptionist can pick up medical terms that are based on Greek or Latin quickly, remember them, and accurately identify them in an audio recording. They can also tell what a person with a heavy accent is saying.

Research skills and openness to learning

A medical transcriptionist can learn and research terms they don’t know about, eg hospital names, medications, and abbreviations. They can also do research in cases where the speaker has a strong accent, uses jargon from a specific industry or slang words from a specific region, or where certain words are distorted due to car noise or wind.

Focus and concentration

A medical transcriptionist has good focus and can concentrate on work for long periods of time, which helps them to produce accurate, timely, and quality transcriptions.

Strong attention to detail

This is very important when it comes to medication, quantities and terminology, as every letter and word in a report or transcription matters.

How to choose a medical transcription service

When choosing a medical transcription service, it’s important to consider accuracy, security and turnaround time, and to ask questions.

1. Accuracy

A good medical transcription service provides two to four layers of quality assurance. This means at least three people will look at the transcribed document to make sure everything is of high quality and free of errors before returning it to you for a signature. Accurate transcriptions ensure the right diagnosis and treatment of patients. So if a company only offers one layer of human oversight, you might want to shop around a bit more.

2. Security

A good medical transcription service also employs a range of data protection measures, including the latest encryption and security processes, to ensure patient confidentiality is maintained. They use a web-based platform for uploading, downloading, and signing transcribed documents that complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as well as transcribe recorded material to the HIPAA-compliant format. If a company doesn’t guarantee HIPAA compliance and security when it comes to handling health information, look elsewhere.

3. Turnaround time

Most medical transcription services have a turnaround time of about 24 hours, or up to 48 hours depending on volumes. Some documents like urgent medical reports can be finished in as little as four hours at additional cost for prioritising it. But for standard documents, if a company’s turnaround time is more than 48 hours, you might want to look for another transcription service.

4. Things to ask

Here are some of the things you should ask a medical transcription service:

  • How long have you been in business? A reputable company with many years of experience in the business of medical transcription is more likely to provide better service.
  • How do you bill your clients? Choose a company that bills per line, where a line has 65 characters, and doesn’t include spaces as part of the cost.
  • Can you provide references and past work examples? You can determine if a company has experience serving your specialty by checking references and asking to see examples of their past work in your field.
  • Does your transcription software interface with my existing systems? The software should be compatible with your electronic health records (EHR) system and practice management system so you can share records across platforms, ie in office and to other providers.
  • Do I have to pay for the software/hardware? Find out the cost of the software/hardware and if the upgrades are free or not. Also ask about any optional features and only pay for what you need.
  • Do you provide domestic and offshore services? Offshore transcription is cheaper but usually sacrifices a bit of accuracy, whereas domestic transcription costs a bit more but offers better accuracy.
  • What are your terms and fees? A good company offers both short and long-term contracts with either a one-time fee or a monthly or yearly fee.
  • What is your level of support? Choose a company with a toll-free support number, an email, and technical support staff who are available 24/7.

Get the best medical transcriptionists working for you

At SyberScribe, we only employ the best medical transcriptionists. We offer rapid turnaround times and accurate transcriptions through our state-of-the-art transcription platform. Do you need something transcribed? Call SyberScribe today about your transcription needs on 1300 764 482 or contact us online.