Joint Task Force Recommends MT Industry adopt visual black characters

There’s no question that the need for a standard unit of measure within the medical transcription industry is long overdue. With that said, earlier this year, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the Medical Transcription Industry Association (MTIA) Joint Task Force on Standards Development gave its formal recommendation that the MT industry should adopt visual black character (VBC) as the standard unit of measure for the medical transcription of medical records.


Originally a discussion topic within MTIA’s Billing, Methods and Principles (BMP) Committee, a statement outlining five billing method principles (Verifiability, Definability, Measurability, Consistency and Integrity) was developed to help identify key business practices. The BMP Committee’s principles later helped define the VBC.


As detailed in A Standard Unit of Measure for Transcribed Reports, the Joint Task Force defines VBC as “a character that can be seen with the naked eye.” Spaces, bolding, underlining and spell checking are among the configurations that would not be counted using this new measurement. In order to help MTSOs, medical transcriptionists and other industry professionals better understand the VBC, AHIMA/MTIA released a FAQs.


The medical transcription industry has developed a reputation of questionable integrity based on the unethical actions of a few rogue firms that have taken advantage of the fact that a line was virtually immeasurable. This should serve to level the playing field and let the best companies thrive. Needless to say, PRN Funding supports this standardizing venture.