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EHR Benefit – Transcription Costs Savings

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It’s time for the next installment in my series of posts looking at the long list of EHR benefits.

Transcription Costs Savings
When I first writing about EMR (yes, it was only called EMR at the time), this was probably the biggest reason that doctors gave for implementing an EMR in their office. Doctors looked at their transcription costs and saw EMR as a great way to replace those transcription costs. Or at least the doctors could use the transcription cost savings to pay for the EMR.

This has proven true for many doctors and no doubt was the financial mechanism that many practices used to go electronic. In fact, I always wondered if the transcription world was on a final death march thanks to EMR. My view of transcription has greatly evolved over the years. In fact, I think we’re seeing a resurgence of transcription in healthcare.

The reason for the renewed interest in transcription is because a large number of providers that start using EHR are tired and overwhelmed by the “number of clicks” that are required by an EHR. When a doctor reaches this point, there immediate reaction is “EMR is so much slower than transcription” or the related “I miss my transcription.”

I always found EMRs that facilitated transcription a little odd, but considering the above trend they might be well positioned to capitalize on those doctors who want to use transcription with their EHR. Plus, the transcription industry is shifting as well. They’re moving quickly away from just being simple transcriptionists to embracing coding and other ways to assist in the clinical documentation process. Considering the complexity of ICD-10, this might be an interesting opportunity.

What does seem clear is that doctors will be more and more interested in ways to streamline the EMR documentation process. I won’t be surprised if many doctors choose transcription as a way to accomplish this goal. Although, I’m not sure this will be the case with new doctors. Transcription has its own learning curve and I don’t see many new doctors who don’t have transcription experience going that direction.

In the end, it’s hard to really say whether transcription cost savings is an EHR benefit. In many cases it could be. Certainly the shrinking transcription industry would agree that many doctors are saving money on their transcription costs. Although, it depends on the clinic and whether they cut out their transcription when they implement their EHR. While we might see some return to transcription, I expect that long term the transcription industry will need to evolve or die as most next generation doctors won’t even consider the idea of transcription.

January 18, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

“Practical Use” of an EHR Using Transcription

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In a post on EMR and EHR about Transcriptionists Partnering with an EMR Vendor, I got an interesting comment by George Catuogno from StenTel about the various technologies that the Medical Transcription (MT) industry are using alongside EMR software. George called the use of transcription with an EHR “practical use” while still showing “meaningful use.” I think it’s a mistake for any EMR company to ignore the transcription industry.

Here’s George’s description of the medical transcription technologies which I think people will find interesting:

The Medical Transcription (MT) industry actually has done a lot to advance itself amidst HIT, particularly EHR technologies, while supporting narrative dictation, which for many physicians is still the preferred method of information capture because it’s fast and easy (efficient) and it tends to more comprehensively captures the patient “story”. DRT, BESR and NLP are three examples of this. I’ll save the best for last.

1. Discrete Reportable Transcription (DRT) is the process of converting narrative dictation into text documents with discrete data elements than can be easily imported into the appropriate placeholders inside an EMR.

2. Backend Speech Recognition (BESR) has been in play for years which allows physicans to dictate without engaging the computer for realtime correction. The correction is instead done retrospectively by a medical transcriptionist. Some speech rec technologies (like M*Modal) support data structuring. The gap remains, however, in getting applications written that readily move that strucutred infomration into EHRs like DRT can.

3. Natural Language Processing (NLP) trumps both of these solutions because it takes a narrative report, regardless of how it was created, and codifies it (SNOMED) for a number of extraction, analytics and reporting applications: Patient Summary, DRT feed into an EMR, Core Measures and PQRI, coding automation, interoperability, and support for the majority of Meaningful Use requirements. Secondary use opens up to clinical trials and other applications as well.

Overall, if the transcription industry can market itself and get its messaging out through the right channels regaridng these innovations that augment transcription and keep physicians dictating, then transcription is a terrific EHR adoption facilitator, enables “practical use” along with Meaningful Use, and will remain relevant for the foreseeable future.

May 12, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.