For decades, transcription is one service that healthcare providers and organizations have commonly outsourced. However, as some experienced issues with third-party contractors, and particularly issues with offshore outsourcing, facilities began pulling transcription back in-house.
Here, we bust 3 common myths about outsourced transcription and take a look at why outsourcing can still be a viable option.
1. "It's too costly."
This may be the biggest reason that physicians and hospitals have pulled their transcription back in-house. As reimbursement rates have dwindled, the natural reaction for many has been to minimize costs. Costs associated with outsourcing can be some of the first to hit the chopping block because it's difficult to correlate the expense with the value received or ROI.
But since transcription is a key component in the healthcare revenue cycle, going the cheapest route can have dire consequences. Instead, having access to a high-quality transcription team can essentially pay for itself. Because if the quality is lacking, it can have a significant and lasting impact on patient care, outcomes, and reimbursements.
Instead of insourcing transcription needs, providers may be better off contracting with a transcription service who utilizes a predictable cost model. Ideally, this means that you pay a set fee per line transcribed. No other fluff or filler fees.
2. "I'll have less control over quality."
A frequent concern with outsourcing is that some or most of the quality control measures will be lost. Providers may feel they retain more control over this area when the transcriptionists are local.
In reality, quality can be tricky regardless of a transcriptionist's location. The more vital piece of the quality pie is ensuring that communication measures are in place and flowing well from both directions. Hiring a contractor who has similar quality measures is wise too. The best ones guarantee a 98 percent or higher accuracy rate on each piece and have a team of both transcriptionists and editors.
3. "It leaves us more vulnerable to data breaches."
Some worry that the more vendors accessing the PHI, the more likely a breach is to occur. That may prove to be true, especially if you're contracting with companies who are lax about security or if your own systems are weak.
However, if you have HIPAA-compliant business associate agreements in place — including a thorough understanding of the vendor's protocol for breaches as well as how the PHI is handled upon culmination of the contract — and the vendor follows HIPAA Privacy Standards, then outsourcing can be just as "safe" as insourcing. Performing an annual HIPAA risk assessment is always wise too as it can help bridge security gaps from all angles.
Do you prefer to outsource or insource your transcription needs? Please join the conversation below.