Archive for May 27, 2009

Healthcare, Online Medical Transcription and Medical Billing: What’s Involved?

Anyone who watches the evening news or picks up a national news magazine will recognize one thing to be true: Healthcare has become one of the fastest growing industries in the United States.

With such an explosion of the healthcare industry taking place, more and more people are embarking on careers in the healthcare system in two fields that have logically benefited from this growth: medical transcription and medical billing. These two fields compose vital organs of the medical industry body itself. To participate in such a necessary field will be both challenging and rewarding, as these fields continue to grow and evolve.

What exactly is medical transcription?

Medical transcription, also known as “MT,” is a healthcare profession which involves the converting voice-recorded reports as dictated by doctors and other healthcare professionals into text format. This is most often done on a PC, using a data entry program. Often this type of position can be done from home, widening its appeal to those with both financial needs and a need to remain at home due to family constraints. Likewise, taking the medical transcription courses online is a natural transition to working from home.

And what exactly is “medical billing”?

Medical billing has become one of the most popular careers in the nation. HMOs, PPOs, managed care, and private physicians need employees to process the claims forms and other paperwork associated with insurance plans, strictly adhering to procedural protocol between the insurance companies and the medical provider. As a result, the medical billing specialist must be detail-oriented, have a precise and detailed work style, and understand the complexities of insurance billing.

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The New Medical Transcription Scenario

The challenge for any medical transcription company is to enable a seamless coordination of medical care. This coordination can be provided by electronic system of medical records. This system enables seamless transmission of medical data from one doctor to another. If incorporated this system helps to provide coordinated, safe and cost effective care.

An estimated 1% to 7% of the patients have a medication error during their stay at the hospital. The medical records provide a foundation for a support system that enables a check on these kinds of errors.
The need of the hour for the transcription companies is to evolve around the electronic medical record system. Also, the companies need to understand their position in the current day scenario and also learn where they are moving to in the future.

A safe and effective medical care can not be provided without a seamless movement to medical data. This is the most exciting change that is happening all around us and the next three to four years will be the most important in the process to ensure that the timely and accurate medical data is always available to the doctor on the web with the oversight of a transcriptionist to ensure its accuracy.

The medical transcriptionist is the first line of defense in providing the accurate and the timely care that he needs by providing the necessary documentation. Though a transcriptionist works at the background but plays an important and integral part in providing safe and effective care to the patients.

We know that we are making a difference within the healthcare industry and we are proud of it

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HIPAA Compliant Medical Transcription

Various healthcare settings in the United States including hospitals, clinics, long term acute care centers and healthcare centers are on the lookout for HIPAA compliant medical transcription service. To meet their requirements, top-quality, professional service providers offer medical transcription services that observe all the rules stipulated by HIPAA. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is the standard for electronic exchange of patient data in audio format into written text format. HIPAA compliant medical transcription ensures total confidentiality of patient data.

Comprehensive Transcription Solutions Maintaining Excellent Standard

An HIPAA compliant medical transcription company offers services in preparing a wide range of medical records including clinic notes, office notes, x-ray reports, operative reports, history and physical reports, letters, psychiatric evaluations, emergency room notes, consultation notes, discharge summaries, pathology reports and laboratory reports.

Professionals in these companies meet the medical transcription requirements of any facility utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, software technologies and techniques. To compete in this field, most providers make use of the services of highly skilled and experienced medical transcriptionists. In order to ensure 99% accuracy of the medical records, the service providers have in-house proofreaders, quality analysts and editors.

Advantages of Quality Medical Transcription Service

Today, most HIPAA compliant medical transcription companies aim at processing medical records in a cost-effective and time-saving manner. Incorporating the provision for toll-free telephone dictation, companies offer the best client-specific transcription service, which guarantees secure transmission; exceptional quality; HIPAA-compliant electronic delivery; unlimited storage and retrieval capabilities and 24-hour or STAT turnaround time.

Benefits of HIPAA compliant medical transcription service:

• Ensures privacy of patient records and data
• Increased efficiency
• Avoids fines and criminal penalties
• Streamlined process workflow
• Public exposure risk is low

Find the Provider Committed to Giving You the Best Service

If you need the support of a medical transcription company, find the right provider that would ideally meet your requirements. Other than medical transcription services, these firms also offer medical billing and coding services.

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The Role and Relevance of Medical Transcription to EMR Adoption

Ambulatory EMR adoption is an endemic national concern. According to a survey conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine only 4% of respondents have a fully functional EMR (with order-entry and clinical-decision support capabilities) and 13% have a basic system.

The U.S. healthcare system initiative to develop a national electronic health record (EHR) infrastructure by 2014 aims to successfully share and exchange health information and support personal health records for all Americans. When ambulatory healthcare organizations are unsuccessful in adopting electronic medical records (EMR) technology into their practices, interoperability for health information exchange (HIE), personal health records (PHR) and a national EHR will be limited.

In a recently published Speech Recognition Adoption White Paper written by the Medical Transcription Industry Association (MTIA) and the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI, formerly AAMT), a great deal of emphasis was placed on the role medical transcriptionists must continue to play in driving a successful national EHR. In summary, the paper indicated that though many EMR and Speech Recognition technology providers have taken aim at medical transcriptionists (MTs) as being a costly and obsolescent part of healthcare documentation, the limits of EMR and speech recognition technology (SRT) are being significantly complemented by the work of MTs in cases where solution providers and savvy healthcare organizations have recognized the value of the relationship between technology and MT “knowledge workers”.

The white paper further offers a state of affairs in the world of speech recognition and compares frontend speech recognition (FESR) with backend speech recognition (BESR). FESR is the process whereby speech-to-text translation occurs real-time with the creation of a narrative dictation, typically for concurrent correction by the dictator. BESR is the process whereby the speech-to-text translation occurs subsequent to the creation of a narrative dictation, typically for later correction by a third party (such as an MT).

When comparing FESR with BESR it was found that enterprise healthcare organizations experienced significant success with BESR by routing work translated through a speech recognition engine to an MT for later correction. This method supported clinicians’ ability to narratively dictate without changing their habits and therefore was widely accepted as an effective documentation method. Further, because cost savings were generally realized, CFOS supported BESR adoption. Typically 80% of clinicians were adaptable to BESR with no change in dictation habits, and higher for certain specialties like radiology. With MTs typically producing 1.5 to 2 times the volume over that of conventional transcription, BESR has proven to be an effective option for documenting health records. The accuracy of speech-to-text translation using BESR improves over time by comparing the corrected reports to a dictator’s speech patterns thereby improving the translation algorithms over time.

FESR has also made strides in the past decade. Gone are the days of sitting in front of a computer and recording thousands of words to train the recognizer. Like BESR, FESR learns and improves with repetition and can “learn” from completed, corrected documents. The trouble with FESR that many clinicians find objectionable is the need to interact with the process to make real-time corrections, thereby causing a change in dictation habits and slowing the clinician down. Although there is an upside (real-time documentation means immediate completion for the chart) in most situations that value is diminished by the extra time it takes the clinician to compete the record, the associated costs of that clinician time, and the fact that turnaround time (TAT) via a backend process is usually adequate.

According to Claudia Tessier, VP of Medical Records Institute, in her article, Medical Transcription and EMRs: Opportunity Lost? FESR represents less than 3% of clinical documentation. On the other hand, back-end speech recognition (BESR) has made significant gains in clinical documentation this decade with hospitals and major healthcare systems effectively deploying the technology enterprise-wide.

If clinician documentation habits are relevant to adoption, it’s no surprise then that ambulatory EMR adoption has delivered such abysmal results. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), the cost of an ambulatory EMR per clinician averages $30,000. If cost is not enough of a barrier to adoption, then usability certainly is. Next time you visit your primary care physician and have your medical record manually documented into an EMR by your physician while seeing you, ask how much he/she likes the process. If you are a clinician, then you understand. Though many EMR technologies are impressive, the documentation process is not well-embraced when it distracts from the intimacy of the patient encounter or slows the documentation process down to the point that fewer patients can be seen.

In an article by Peter Waegemann, CEO of Medical Records Institute and Chair of the TEPR Conference, despite a national initiative to have complete adoption of EMR technology by the year 2014, the above-referenced findings by the New England Journal of Medicine study clearly reflect that something is “drastically wrong”, that “it is time to stop and have a hard look at what needs to be changed”, and that “it is time for all the committees, associations, and others who are touting EMRs to confront this dismal picture” and find ways to help “correct [several] areas in our national strategy”.

The areas Mr. Waegemann identifies as problematic? Cost, Information Capture, Legality, Functionality, Information Exchange, Continuity of Care. Regarding Information Capture, Mr. Waegemann states, “Another main hurdle is the process of getting information into the computer”, continuing by noting that “electronic documentation is disruptive, may take a little longer, and requires a change in habits.”

Clinician behavior is unlikely to change if the pressure of time and efficiency continue to drive the culture of healthcare. If EMR usability also continues to challenge clinicians, then the role of the MT may, in fact, be extremely relevant in helping to meet the current EMR adoption challenges. As noted by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) in a Practice Brief entitled Speech Recognition in the Electronic Health Record, “MTs are poised to evolve into clinical data, data quality, and decision support specialists.” The challenge to MTSOs, Healthcare Provider organizations and EMR providers is to work cooperatively to develop and promote solutions that match this charge.

In her article, Friend or Foe, published in For the Record, Robin Daigh, a VP at MD-IT, aptly addresses that it is the blend of technology and service solutions needed to meet the present EMR adoption dilemma. In this article Ms. Daigh notes that of the three documentation options (direct data entry, FESR and narrative dictation) that “many EMR vendors with whom we’ve spoken [indicate] dictation is the preferred choice of 80% of doctors.”

Ms. Daigh continues with a relevant illustration about documentation time and costs, noting the example of a typical outpatient visit to an internist and indicating that it takes about one minute to dictate a note for an established patient and costs about $4.30 versus 5 minutes and cost of about $13.50 to document the encounter directly into an EMR:

“By contrast, many EMRs use [direct] structured data entry as the primary method for entering clinical notes, in which physicians point and click their way through drop-down menus. The time required is at best equal to that of a transcribed note, and physicians often report it takes 8 to 10 minutes to complete a note using structured data entry, meaning the indirect cost to physicians is anywhere from $13.50 to $27.” states Daigh. “Indeed, physicians may ‘save’ $1.60 in outsourced transcription expense but at the cost of their valuable time. In our experience, this loss of productivity with [direct] structured data entry is the single biggest barrier to physician EMR adoption. By contrast, transcription customers are delighted to learn they can continue to dictate and let the transcription service deliver the clinical note to their EMR.”

Medical Transcription (with or without SRT) is relevant to documentation because it is the companion of narrative dictation, and narrative dictation holds a key advantage: the documentation of complete and accurate records. In another New England Journal of Medicine publication, Off the Record – Avoiding the Pitfalls of Going Electronic the article authors note that template-based documentation may distract from the important cognitive work of providing care, limiting thoughtful review and analysis. “Although completing such templates may help physicians survive a report-card review, it directs them to ask restrictive questions rather than engaging in a narrative-based, open-ended dialogue.”

In its traditional form Medical Transcription still services a significant percentage of the industry; coupled with speech recognition (BESR), it enables scalable deployment across enterprise healthcare; with HL7-based integration it feeds enterprise EMR systems with unstructured data health records; with emerging BESR technologies it feeds those same systems with structured data health records, leading to improved decision support; and in response to the endemic ambulatory EMR adoption problem it offers a bridge to acceptable usability.

Medical Transcription in fact holds a relevant role in documentation and in helping solve the ambulatory EMR adoption dilemma, vital to the future of healthcare interoperability and the national EHR initiative. Moving forward, organizations that are focused on providing integrated solutions that leverage both technology and service offerings will lead to an increase in EMR adoption and ultimately improved patient care.

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Outsourcing Medical Billing

In the past few years there is a dramatic change in the medical field and its treatment. Initially, while processing the insurance claims there are many administrative difficulties during the preparation of insurance policy procedures and dealing with complicated claim forms. To overcome with these obscurity doctors look out for outside help, and hire representatives to advise them, attend information about insurance company seminars, and provide them with regular clear financial reports.

This is process is called as medical billing outsourcing. Outsourcing Medical Billing acquire a profound working knowledge of the technologies and processes that are decisive to successful Business Process Outsourcing and afford a absolute scale of Back Office Outsourcing services in the areas of Medical Billing, Claim Adjudication, Call Center and Financial service. The most of the physician time is saved by means of medical billing outsourcing process. So that, physicians can much more concentrate on curing their patients. A medical billing firm will have the knowledge and experience technocrats to take care of all the medical billing issues. It makes free the other staff to concentrate on other aspects of running the practice which leads to added security to finance and transactions.

In a medical billing process all those claims will be submitted more quickly and follow-up will be more persistent-all adding up to more and quicker revenue for the practice. Medical billing firm will provide all the reports by means of monthly and detailing the financial health of the practice and can recommend ways to boost profitability as well. It process is used to improve the business and may not depend on individual to maintain the details. So the usage of medical billing outsourcing is very reliable to change medical billing expenses from a fixed cost to a variable cost and to improve the ability to manage our business.

A medical billing firm gives the detailed information that need to successfully negotiate a contract with a malpractice insurance carrier. The benefits of medical billing outsourcing include less paperwork and lower employee cost, minimized error and faster revenue receives. For minimized error the perfect audition is done by the supervisor. After the approval of supervisor the claims are sent to the process of revenue. One of the major advantage of medical billing outsourcing is it assists the physicians in saving money through payroll generation, equipment reduction, elimination of postage, and with software service support. Outsourcing to a professional billing company frees you from administration problems.

One of the important things has to be noted is while choosing the medical billing outsourcing the costs varies directly with the medical billing. If the medical billing drops, the cost drops. If the medical billing goes higher, then the costs do not rise suspiciously. This is the simple fact that makes the business planning easier. Outsourcing Medical Billing handles your Billing and Collections. Outsourcing to Offshore Medical billing will reduce your overhead while decreasing the claim payment turn around time. Enjoy the benefits of Outsourcing Medical Billing, Accounts Receivable Follow-up responsibilities to the experienced professionals in the Offshore Center.

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