The Future and Foundations of Medical Transcription

There was an interesting article in For The Record Magazine last month that the medical transcription factoring specialists at PRN Funding wanted to share with our medical transcription readers–Utterly Essential. Keep reading for a brief overview of the article:

Could it be that the old way of doing things is more effective than the new? When it comes to medical transcription, many doctors still stress the benefits of dictation for providing patient care that is at once more personal, nuanced and efficient.

In his 2007 article in Family Practice Management, David E. Trachtenbarg, MD shared that “clicking or typing text multiple times is generally slower than dictating…Using discrete data, it took me 95 seconds to complete 17 clicks for yes-or-no questions, five text boxes that required typing and two drop-down lists. In contrast, it took me 41 seconds to document the same history using dictation.”

Furthermore, Jason Mitchell, MD, was quoted in Utterly Essential as saying that dictation can “capture nuances and subtleties that cannot be communicated strictly through EHR fields.”

While dictation certainly makes relationships between individual patients and doctors more personal, meaningful, and effective; in the grand scheme of data collection, the tape recorder certainly has its shortcomings. Even with burgeoning vocal-recognition technology like Apple’s “Siri,” harvesting, codifying and putting dictated notes to good use is a process that presents many challenges to the health information industry.

After all, EHR has many benefits. Though it has been criticized for turning highly-paid doctors into data-entry clerks, medical practices are experimenting with cost-effective methods of implementing the process.

One method-which is rapidly becoming dated-involves a scribe whose job is to communicate with the physician and record the finer points of the patient’s case. This allows the doctor more time to see more patients.

Though it would seem to make sense to have nurses act as scribes, Jason Mitchell, MD, argues otherwise. Mitchell, who acts as the assistant director of the American Academy of Family Physicians’ Center for Health IT, believes it to be “more cost-effective to bring someone in on a lower pay scale.”

According to For the Record, Mitchell goes on to assert that “as software becomes more developed… the scribe’s role will eventually become obsolete.”

What does this mean for our medical transcription factoring clientele? It means that the future of EHR has to incorporate, in some meaningful way, the efficient, interpersonal process of dictation. Software must be developed that can enter dictation into EHR, codify it for future diagnostic purposes, and save it for the physician’s use.

By improving the process of extracting discrete data from patients’ narratives, the combined forces of dictation and EHR could save lives in both the present and the future, using all of the methods and information from the healthcare industry’s past.

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