Speech Rec is here to stay…

Hello all: I wanted to take a moment to thank and send a shout out to the MTs who are following the blog and who are plugging away every day learning to become effective MT editors! It is WONDERFUL to hear from you and it is great to see you making such an effort even with the challenges facing you. THANK YOU!

I also wanted to send out a note to those who haven’t quite embraced speech recognition…

I see posts on other forums and I hear from MTs by email who still seem to think that speech recognition is an experiment which will just go away if they refuse to participate.

That’s the wrong way to go folks…hospitals and MTSOs MUST find more efficient ways to produce their work. MTSOs can NOT charge what they used to charge for a line. Hospitals do not have the transcription budgets they used to have. If they don’t use technology to become more efficient – they’ll sink.

Despite what you read on other forums, the MTSO isn’t adopting this technology because they want to pad their pockets by taking money away from the MT. Believe me – the margins grow smaller and smaller every day. The price per line the MTSO can charge today is significantly lower than it used to be. There is no evil scheme to harm MTs going on. Do the MTSOs always get it right? No – of course not. After all speech rec often is new to them too.

There is so much work being edited now – successfully – that there just isn’t a question anymore about whether or not speech rec works. Can the level of success vary? Absolutely. But it works, it is here to stay, and if you want to stay in this business MTs, you’ve got to learn how to edit.

Just like the MTs in the 80s who refused to leave their IBM Selectrics for the computer – you will be left out. You are not helping yourselves or other MTs by refusing or by insisting it doesn’t work when there are many millions of lines of transcription being produced with the help of speech rec every single day across our industry.

And you know, if you have no wish to learn to edit – that is certainly your choice! But lets please be aware that many MTs need their jobs and don’t have other options for employment. Lets stop making things more difficult for MTs who DO want to learn to edit by continuing to bash the technology and the companies who use it and the MTs who try to learn it. I am appalled by what happens on some MT forums when some poor MT dares to ask for editing advice. MTs who can not be supportive of their fellow MTs should be ashamed of themselves. They are discrediting the entire profession. How do they expect to be treated (and paid) like professionals when they don’t behave as such?

SPEECH RECOGNITION WORKS. We see many many MTs who prove this every day. Companies would not pay for the technology if it didn’t work. Lets be supportive of the MTs who must learn to edit efficiently in order to make a living and stop the negativity and lack of professionalism.

Folks, speech recognition is here to stay – it is no longer an experiment, it is no longer a question. Lets focus on addressing and correcting the challenges instead of hurting the profession for other MTs.

Transcription these days IS editing.

Thank you!

9 Responses

  1. Yes, speech rec is here to stay, and yes, it “works.” How well it “works” depends on the platform and how it’s deployed.

    As your own blog points out, however, how well the compensation for speech rec “works” is a whole different kettle of fish. As your own blog points out, it may well “work” better for slower, newer MTs and not so well for faster, experienced MTs who may well have built up an extensive array of expansions for whole reports or parts of reports (ROS or PE, for example) that require minimal editing but which they are no longer allowed to use.

    You cannot expect people whose livelihood is threatened to be happy about it, no matter how well the technology “works.” You yourself decry the dwindling numbers of career MTs, but if the compensation attached to the technology, even if the technology is “working”, is destroying the livelihoods of those career MTs, you can’t expect them to sit around and like it. You can’t expect them to keep banging their heads against a brick wall. For them, it may still be a pleasant hobby for a little extra cash, but the “real” job is going to have to be something else.

    The expectation already seems to be that speech rec mandates the creation of documents in real time, that is, one edits as fast as the dictator talks at the very least and, at best, speeds the file up to where the old analog files would sound like Mickey Mouse. If we leave out that no dictator performs like Sir Patrick Stewart working from a memorized script with state of the art recording equipment, does anyone know, on average, how long it takes to become that proficient? That is, how long before the newer editors for whom the compensation package may be “working” top out? How long before they hit the most they will ever make in this profession (given that your beginning line rate is often the most you’ll make with the company)? How does that “work” for them? Does it equate to a viable career?

    • Hi Karen: I think you just supported all the points I talked about in my previous posts. 🙂

      Let’s make it clear though – a compensation plan that doesn’t work is not a failure of the technology. It is a failure of the processes surrounding it.

      I absolutely do not expect Career MTs to accept the lower paychecks. They will leave the profession and I sincerely believe that will kill the profession. Hence the reason for my blog.

      Unfortunately those who determine these processes are victims to much of the hype that surrounds speech recognition – and/or they expect the same results for an account where nothing has been done to improve the results of the speech recognition with results for hospitals where everything from the audio quality to the doctors dictation practices to the work type requirements to the interfaces have been integrated for the purpose of optimizing speech recognition results.

      Thanks so much for your comment,

  2. Speech rec does work well and I love it…if only it would pay well, I could stay an MT for the next 20+ years….as I already have 13 years seasoned experience and I am in my prime. However, if the pay does not come up, I am going to have to apply elsewhere in a totally different career (actually I already have). As it stands now, almost anything hour for hour would pay me more. Even a store clerk. I have 2 kids to support, and it seems like these companies are being very cruel to offer us so little but expect so much for such a critical process we do in analyzing these patient records for correctness and content, verifying everything docs mumble, etc. This is time consuming work and it seems like our time does not matter to them. I hope I am wrong, and they just can’t afford to pay us more…well, even that would not be good. What to do?

    • Thank you for your comment Cindi. These are difficult times. I think that though MTSOs and hospitals are all feeling the crunch financially, they must understand that quality documentation costs money BUT provides value for that money.

  3. Lynn et al,
    Regarding the compensation issue, I learned from research that a mid-level MLS (we call you Medical Language Specialists now, not Medical Transcriptionists – you’ve become so much more than typists) who was making $.95 per dictated minute as an MT and is now making $.45 as an MLS/Editor working on a Speech Understanding platform integrated to M*Modal can process two to three times more minutes once proficiency is reached. If you do the math, the MLS can make MORE under the editor role if they are very productive. Any other findings to dispute that? I’d really like to know if I’m living in fantasy land.

    • Hello Paul: I am so sorry I missed your post. I had a little period of time there when I was somehow missing my comments!

      It is in many cases possible for MTs to increase productivity such that they can make more money even with per line or per minute cuts.

      HOWEVER – it depends on how you perform the cuts. If you have a very high producer and you assume that high producer is able to double productivity just as the low to mid producer can and you cut rates accordingly, then you are indeed living in fantasy land. You will end up rewarding your low producers and cutting the pay of your most valuable high-producing MTs. You don’t want to do that. They, in many cases, are often your most reliable, highest quality, least expensive, MTs. Losing them will require you to increase your staff while you are also paying for speech rec technology.

      Remember…doctors only speak at a certain speed. If an MT is already taking between 2 to 3 minutes to type a minute of dictation, she may have to actually listen to the audio and edit at the same time FASTER than the physician speaks in order to double productivity. And you do want your MTs to listen to the entire audio – right? (of course you do!) So just be sure your high producers are taken care of and your expectations are realistic.

      Take a look at a few of the articles mentioned here https://mmodal2.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/speech-recognition-throw-away-everything-you-thought-you-knew-from-ahdi-ace-2011/

      I hope this helps…


  4. I agree with this. With the recession, hospitals and doctors have to cut costs or go out of business.

    Will a doctor’s ability to self edit a document at the time of dictation change the MT industry?

    • What an opportunity to streamline coding and billing at the time of dictation too! That would be tons of more savings for them!

    • What does everyone think?


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