Have Medical Transcription Services Become Obsolete?

bigstock-picture-of-an-antique-radio-re-56168480Transcription services have been a staple in the healthcare industry for decades. In fact, many medical facilities still utilize medical transcription services in one form or another today. Even so, there have been many changes in recent years to facilitate clinical documentation improvement. With the passage of time, and through the development of better services and technology, it’s possible that it won’t be long before medical transcription services become obsolete.

Traditional Transcription Departments

In the past, it was commonplace for hospitals and medical practices to employ full time or part time transcriptionists. Most physicians took to dictating their patient reports, and these dictations were then given to the transcription department. Turnaround time would vary, of course, depending on how many reports were in the queue, and once reports were transcribed, it was inevitable that some changes would need to be made. The result was that it frequently took a great deal of time to obtain a finished and completely accurate report for a patient’s chart. These types of medical transcription services were quite expensive as well.

Outsourcing Medical Transcription

Once it became apparent that medical transcription could be outsourced with similar results, more healthcare facilities started to outsource these services. This quickly became the norm as more and more traditional transcription departments were eliminated, and smaller transcription businesses started emerging. Some medical facilities even started to outsource their transcription needs overseas in an effort to save even more money on this expense. Although the savings were apparent, it was also apparent that outsourcing transcription services still wasn’t the absolute best way to complete patient reports, and technology soon provided an answer to that dilemma.

Voice Recognition Software

Some medical practices and hospitals made the switch to voice recognition software in an attempt to leave transcription services behind completely. These programs involved dictating medical reports, which were then turned into printed reports, eliminating the transcription component completely. Many physicians like this method, and they find that it works well for them.

For others, however, because of the natural tone of their voices, or for a variety of other reasons, they find that they still need to correct many mistakes. They also frequently need to return to the reports to add information that might have been left out during the dictation process. While voice recognition software is a pretty good transcription alternative, technology continues to evolve and present physicians with other options.

Synoptic Reporting

Synoptic reporting is proving to be an excellent alternative to traditional medical transcription services for many reasons. Reports are completed by the physician, or by a member of the medical staff during the patient encounter. The system follows a predetermined template that is based on the patient’s diagnosis, and that follows all required healthcare guidelines, depending on the specialty. This ensures that all of the important medical information is entered the first time, which is a great time-saver for physicians as well as for administrators. Synoptic reporting also uses a streamlined set of medical terminology which is an excellent feature that aids researchers when determining medical outcomes as well as best practices. It is clear that synoptic reporting has set a new standard for patient reporting. It is not only more cost effective than traditional transcription methods, but it works to save time for medical professionals and provide an improved level of care for patients too.

In reviewing how medical transcription services have evolved, it’s easy to see that technology has all but eliminated traditional methods in favor of more efficient ones. Will medical transcription services eventually become obsolete? It’s hard to tell, but it seems more and more likely.