Medical transcription — and whether to outsource or keep in-house — has been a point of contention for years now.
Depending on your practice size and overall needs, it's wise to weigh the pros and cons of each option.
If you're considering outsourcing your transcription needs, here are four tips to consider.
1. Ditch the minimums.
It's not uncommon for transcription companies to require a minimum monthly commitment. That is, you'll have to commit to providing them with a certain amount of transcription work each month. In the event you don't meet that minimum, you'll still be paying as though you did.
Due to increasing competition, both at home and abroad, some companies are beginning to move away from such requirements. Before you sign a contract, make sure no minimums are included.
2. Ask, and ask again, about the pricing.
Now that monthly minimums have been ruled out, you need to establish how the transcription pricing is calculated.
Generally, the fees will be calculated one of two ways: Per line or per minute of transcription. Either way, ensure that the company uses a flat fee structure.
It's also helpful to ask for sample pricing of similarly-sized practices or healthcare organizations. This will give you a better idea of the overall expense of the service.
3. Opt for onshore.
Offshore transcription services have steadily increased in popularity, particularly among larger healthcare facilities. A study by KLAS indicated that the primary reasons for choosing offshore services are lower costs and faster turnaround times.
While those are certainly reasons why organizations may lean towards offshoring, it's also important to consider the impact of potential language barriers. Given the differences in regional accents, syntax, and even slang, it can be tricky for non-native speakers to correctly interpret the dialogue.
The KLAS study highlighted these concerns, including worries about HIPAA compliance and privacy. As one respondent said, "I also have some concerns about the privacy issues, since they are not bound by the same laws we have in the United States."
Onshore transcription services that employ native-speaking transcriptionists and editors can ease some of the concerns about security and language barriers.
4. Check for interoperability.
With the push for interoperability, it's important that completed transcriptions integrate seamlessly with your practice's EHR.
Look for a company whose software is compatible with your EHR. This feature is often call health level 7 or full HL7 based integration. Having the completed reports flow directly to the EHR — as opposed to scanning them in — is a significant time-saver.
Our clients have had tremendous success with Nuance's Clinic 360 Transcription service. It meets all of the criteria noted above and then some.
Do you outsource your transcription needs? If not, what is holding you back? Please join the conversation below.