Medical transcription, also known as MT, is an allied health profession, which deals in the process of transcription, or converting voice-recorded reports as dictated by physicians and/or other healthcare professionals into text format.
Traditional medical transcription is a form of document creation that the medical industry considers outdated, but necessary as a means of providing the necessary documentation needed to satisfy regulatory and insurance provider requirements. The practice of modern medicine dictates that the physicians spend more time serving patient needs than creating documents in order to make financial ends meet. More modern methods of document creation are being implemented through the technology of computers and the internet. Voice Recognition (VR) is one of these new-age technologies. With the power to write up to 200 words per minute with 99% accuracy Voice Recognition has freed physicians from the shackles of traditional transcription services.
Medical transcription is still the primary mechanism for a physician to clearly communicate with other healthcare providers who access the patient record; to advise them on the state of the patient’s health and past/current treatment; to assure continuity of care. More recently, following Federal and State Disability Act changes, a written report (IME) became a requirement for documentation of a medical bill or an application for Workers’ Compensation (or continuation thereof) insurance benefits based on requirements of Federal and State agencies.
The medical transcription industry will continue to undergo metamorphosis based on many contributing factors like advancement in technology, practice workflow, regulations etc. The evolution toward the electronic patient record demonstrates that, over time, documentation habits will change either through standards and regulations or through personal preferences. Until recently, there were few standards and regulations that MTs and their employers had to meet. First, we had the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It wasn’t long ago “experts” stated that HIPAA would not have any effect on the medical transcription industry. Either in a state of denial or ignorance of the law, many transcriptionists and companies have continued on their existing course of providing medical transcription. Many providers are concerned that the majority of the transcription industry will not be able to meet several specific requirements: namely, access controls, policies and procedures, and audits of access to the patient information. Without the knowledge or resources to comply, many in the industry are claiming to comply and signing their Business Associates Agreements without taking the security measures required. Many are uninformed, and some are choosing to remain so, believing that the world of transcription cannot possibly be expected to make these adaptations. The fact is that the employers will demand HIPAA compliance and will change employees and contractors when they don’t get it. There will also be demands to enhance patient safety, increase efficiency, and reduce costs. It is mandatory for service providers and healthcare practices to migrate to a HIPAA compliant environment.
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