Technology Progressing in Medical Transcription Industry

Laura Bryan, a contributor to the Health Data Matrix business and technology journal, recently wrote a piece describing the technological advancements in the works for medical transcription companies.  Documentation technologies will continue to advance with a heavy bias toward the end users.  As industry experts work toward standardized software, creative ideas are quickly developing.

At the 2008 Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity’s (AHDI) Annual Convention and Expo, students, educators, and supervisors in the medical transcription industry gathered to discuss their experiences with different technologies and software.  The goal of these focus groups was to obtain an end user perspective for new innovations such as speech recognition technology (SRT), natural language processing, data tagging, and abstracting.  Below are some of the key points from Laura Bryan’s article that were gained from the discussions.

  • There is too much variation across the industry in regards to the sophistication of technology.
  • Not many medical transcriptionists were familiar with data tagging and natural language processing, while a majority either worked or had knowledge of SRT.
  • Transcription training programs currently do not have a curriculum for these new technologies and do not plan on integrating them.
  • Hence, new education programs must be developed to introduce the software to prospective transcriptionists
  • In this economy, transcriptionists worry about the information costs, such as training expenses, associated with transferring over to new technology systems. 
  • With regards to grammar, punctuation, and style, professionals who transcribe using traditional methods are held to higher standards than transcriptionists using SRT.
  • According to experienced SRT transcriptionists, the notion that transcribing with SRT is easier and does not require much knowledge or expertise is not true.
  • Transcriptionists who have used SRT before complain about the lack of quality, immense variability, and the tedious implementation process with SRT programs currently available on the market.