The success of any organization lies in being able to concentrate on the core business and outsource all other activities that are not part of the core business. The core business of a healthcare facility is that of providing quality healthcare. All other activities are support functions. They play an important role in achieving the core objective, but may not be part of the core competency of the healthcare facility.
One such activity is medical transcription, which is the process of documenting the patient-healthcare professional encounter. What is the importance of patient medical records in the healthcare process?
Patient records play an important part in the following:
- Patient treatment
- Permanent Patient records
- Referrals to other doctors
- Evidence in case of malpractice suits
- Coding, billing and insurance claims
- Satisfaction of regulatory norms
One can see that medical transcription plays a very important role in major areas of healthcare like quality of care, diagnosis and in the receivables cycle by creating patient medical records.
What role does Information Technology (IT) play in transcription?
With the evolution of the process of patient record creation from the manual to the virtual world, Information Technology plays a very important role at every stage of the process like:
- Collections of patient-healthcare professional encounter data.
- Transmission of data to the transcriptionists
- The transcription process
- Transmission of transcribed files to the healthcare professionals
- Archiving of files for future reference
- HIPAA and HITECH compliance
- Integration with EMR systems.
The whole process needs Information technology at every stage to make the process quicker and secure. Executing transcription in-house would require that the healthcare facility have massive investment in Information technology to enable all these functions. It would involve investments in servers for uploading dictation, secure file transfer protocols to distribute work to and collect work from transcriptionists, distribution network for report distribution and powerful archiving to trace dictations, work-in-progress and finished transcripts.
The simple step of outsourcing the whole process of creating patient medical records needs to a technologically savvy service provider can eliminate the total burden of investment in Information technology. These valuable resources could then be put to better use.