Is Offshore Transcription a Good Idea?

The Volume 22, Number 5 issue of For The Record magazine had an interesting article entitled: Offshore Transcription: A Seaworthy Choice. For the benefit of our medical transcription blog readers,¬† the medical transcription funding specialists at PRN Funding took the liberty of summarizing the article’s key points below:

First and foremost, the offshore medical transcription industry is growing, with the Philippines and India leading the market share. One major reason for the increase in popularity is cost savings. In fact, Sharon Fremer (VP of transcription for Precyse Solutions) said that the average savings can amount to 15%-20%. In addition, the U.S. can benefit by utilizing offshore transcriptionists to make up for shortages in the profession in the states.

Still, there are some who continue to oppose sending transcription overseas. Chris Simons (RHIA, director of utilization management and HIM and the privacy officer at Spring Harbor Hospital) told the magazine that she believes the risks outweigh the benefits. Particularly, Simons doubts the security of sending files overseas, and she feels that keeping jobs in the U.S. will help raise salaries in an industry where employees are typically underpaid.

The article also included 10 Questions that providers should ask when considering an offshore medical transcription option:

  1. How can the offshore vendor ensure security, including both audio files and transcribed data?
  2. Do U.S. facilities have the ability to track and audit records in real-time?
  3. Do the foreign transcriptionists work in a secure environment? This is especially important, as the trend for American transcriptionists is to work from home.
  4. What is the disaster plan to weather-related or other type of operational disaster occurs?
  5. How often will the American facility  audit the offshore transcription service?
  6. What types of training do offshore MTs receive (including English language)?
  7. If there is a question regarding unclear dictation, how will the query be handled?
  8. What happens if an offshore medical transcription does not meet quality standards?
  9. What is the turnaround time?
  10. Does the offshore transcription service provide around-the-clock coverage?

For more information, check out the March 15th edition of For The Record.

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