MT World News Center

Tools & Resources
Calorie Counter
Human Anatomy Images and Diagrams
Most Common Drugs
Medical Transcription Services
Productivity Tools
Normal Lab Values
Medical Terminology
Medical Transcription Associations
Medical Transcription Certification
Counting Lines
Medical Abbreviations
Medical Plurals
Calendar of Events
Understanding HIPAA
Grammar Rules
IC vs Employee Status
Comic Relief!
MT Article Archive
Neurology Resources

Search Drug Database

Pharma Search Tool

Search Language Database

Language Search Tool





2012 and Beyond: Divining the future of Medical Transcription and Clinical Documentation

Free Info on our recommended Medical Transcription Program leading to an exciting home based medical transcription career

By Christopher Dunn

The dawn of a new year - 2012 - seems an appropriate time to take a fresh look at the future of the medical transcription and healthcare documentation industry. To be sure, the past several years have seen a steady if not accelerating encroachment of both technology and outsourcing on the traditional medical transcription model. In fact, if we are to be completely honest, the traditional medical transcription paradigm is fast becoming a relic of a bygone era.

The speech recognition movement has swept in with a vengeance and is gaining traction in the traditionally slow-to-adopt US healthcare industry. The factors that have delayed the penetration of speech recognition technology are numerous - with cost, entrenchment, bureaucracy, uncertainty, and a lack of standardization all contributing. However, one by one these issues have been resolved or mitigated and the industry now seems poised to accelerate the pace of SR adoption as the path to profitability and efficiency becomes more clear.

At the same time, the propensity toward overseas outsourcing of transcription has become commonplace, bringing its own set of benefits, and headaches to an increasingly fragile industry. However, the pace of outsourcing may decelerate slightly in the future as speech recognition technology continues to establish itself as the dominant production model. The cost efficiencies of SR will make it more palatable for healthcare operators to maintain a domestic production resource in the future.

MTSO's have scrambled to redefine their role in the wake of a rapidly morphing space. Consolidation and scale have been the bywords of an industry badly shaken by these rapid global transformations. Most recently, MTSO's, along with their armies of skilled medical transcriptionists have worked hard to adapt to the changing technological landscape. The conversion from a traditional medical transcription skill set to the more in-demand medical record editing role has been arduous and inefficient. Companies and transcriptionists alike have been forced to wear two hats as their healthcare partners lurched in fits and starts - transitioning away from a traditional medical transcription model in favor of speech recognition technology.

The MTSO survivors have done an admirable job of transitioning to the document editing role with a healthy dose of guidance, support, and cheerleading from AHDI (Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity), the industry organization that astutely responded to the writing on the wall several years in advance of the sea change. Formerly known as the American Association for Medical Transcription, AHDI abruptly changed its name and its mission a number of years ago in a move calculated to ensure its own survival as well as the survival of the industry it served.

Looking to the future, many MTSO's now appear well positioned to take advantage of the future demographic trends that will shape the future of the healthcare industry for several decades to come. Specifically, the volume of patient documentation will accelerate markedly in coming years due to a rapidly aging and long-lived US population. These trends have been on the radar screen threatening to overwhelm medical transcription budgets and capacity for a number of years now. However, 2011 marked the first official year of actual baby-boom retirements - setting the stage for far greater healthcare demand and patient documentation in the near future.

As a consequence, a healthier and newly retooled cadre of MTSO's are now settling into the driver's seat in what portends to be a remarkable future opportunity of profitable growth in healthcare documentation. Medical transcriptionists who have been successful in transitioning themselves to become competent and efficient medical record editors will also benefit from robust industry growth as they assume an increasingly important and visible role in the clinical documentation production process.

Looking in the rearview mirror, the first decade of the new millennium can best be characterized as a decade of disruption, transition, consolidation, and adaptation in the healthcare documentation industry - all of which have been extremely stressful and costly. The next decade should offer hope for smoother sailing and an opportunity to stabilize around a new model that will facilitate future growth, efficiency, and prosperity.

Free Info on our recommended Medical Transcription Program leading to an exciting home based medical transcription career

  ^ Top