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6 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Medical Transcription Service

SyberScribe AUTHOR: SyberScribe, February 21st, 2020

Medical transcription is an essential part of running a medical practice. Accurate, reliable, and timely transcription are important not only for the medical practice and its staff, but also for patients, other health professionals, and insurance companies that’ll be reviewing claims. But with so many medical transcription service providers out there, it can be difficult to make the right choice. To help you out, here are six important factors to consider when choosing an advanced medical transcription service.


Make sure the cost for the medical transcription service is reasonable and within your budget. The previous industry standard was 6-14 cents per line (a line has 65 characters), but now the standard has shifted toward ‘visible black characters’ (VBCs). This means spaces aren’t included when calculating the cost per 65-character line. For example, if there are 52 VBCs in a 65-character line, and one line costs 10 cents, then each VBC costs 0.19 cents. Just keep in mind that the cost-per-line model still exists.

Some medical transcription services charge per minute (eg $1 per audio minute), verbatim fees (includes filler words like “um” or “ah”, non-verbal communication and false starts), and timestamps. Verbatim fees and timestamps can cost 25 cents a minute. The costs can add up if there are multiple speakers and accents, technical content, and when you require a quick turnaround.

You should also find out if you only have to pay a one-time fee when you join or whether you have to pay a monthly or yearly subscription. Don’t forget to ask about the frequency and cost of software/hardware updates.

Turnaround time

Most medical transcription services have a turnaround time of 24-48 hours. However, some audio files can be completed in less than 24 hours if it’s urgent for an additional fee, from $1.50 to $3 per audio minute. Generally, 10-minute audio files can be transcribed in 4-5 hours, while audio files that are 3 hours or longer could take one week or longer to complete. If a company’s standard turnaround time is more than 24-48 hours, you should look elsewhere.

Expertise and experience

Make sure to partner with an established medical transcription service that has been in business for many years, as they’re more likely to offer greater accuracy and quality transcriptions than those who’ve been in business for a shorter period of time. If you’re looking for bulk transcription services, you should pick a provider that has the experience so your transcripts are delivered on time and without errors.

You should also find a company that works with certified medical transcriptionists who are well trained and experienced. They should be native language speakers, have a background in medicine and knowledge of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) requirements, and understand medical terminology, especially in your field. You can ask to see examples of the company’s past work in your field. An experienced transcriptionist will also be able to pick up dialects, slang, colloquialisms, and other cultural nuances, improving the quality of the transcription.

Additionally, the transcriptionists must have experience transcribing and formatting all types of medical reports for all specialties, including documents for hospitals, clinics, medical centres, and private practices.


You should look for a medical transcription service that guarantees an accuracy rate of at least 98%. The accuracy rate will also depend on the number of people who proofread the document before it’s returned to your practice. If 3-4 people proofread the document, it’ll guarantee that errors will be caught and fixed before the document is returned to you. So be sure to ask how many people will be looking at your transcribed document. The more oversight, the fewer mistakes.

It’s also important to keep in mind that human transcription is more accurate than machine transcription. After all, humans can catch errors that a machine can’t. They also have the training and experience required to better grasp the context (eg multiple speakers) of an audio file, as well as be more likely to understand poor quality recordings (eg background noise).

Technology used

Some medical transcription services use a voice-recognition software that transcribes audio files. It’s faster than human transcription, and the more data it’s been fed, the better it’ll become at transcribing. Nevertheless, you should look for a service that offers a combination of human and machine transcription, since together they’ll produce more accurate results in a timely manner. The reason for this is that after a voice-recognition software has transcribed an audio file, the transcriptionist will then proofread the document to catch and fix any mistakes made by the software and ensure that it’s error-free. Or you can simply choose a medical transcription service that only uses people for non-urgent transcriptions.

What’s more, any transcription software you have to use should be compatible with your electronic health records (EHR) system and practice management system. The company should also be able to provide the tools you need to navigate the system to track activities, recommend system updates that’ll benefit your practice, and create and customise applications to accommodate your needs.


When shopping around for a medical transcription service, you should also take a look at customer reviews online. They’ll give you an idea of the level of satisfaction and quality you can expect from the service. On the other hand, you can ask the company for references from their past and current clients within your specialty. Be sure to ask for a complete list of their clients, not just the favourable ones, to get the real scoop. If the company has more negative reviews than positive ones, move on to the next option.

Ready to hire the best medical transcription service?

At SyberScribe, we only employ experienced medical transcriptionists who can produce quality, accurate transcriptions through our state-of-the-art transcription platform, and with rapid turnaround times. We also offer our medical transcription services at a low cost. What’s more, we can provide references from our clients who’ve experienced the SyberScribe service for over 10 years. For an expert medical transcription service to suit your needs, contact SyberScribe today for a free quote.