AHDI – M*Modal Continuing Management for Modern Medical Transcription Series – Webinar

US medical groups' adoption of EHR (2005)

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Hello everyone:  It was my very great pleasure today to be the presenter for an AHDI webinar as part of the M*Modal – AHDI Management for Modern Medical Transcription series.

Today’s presentation was titled, “The Continuing Relevance of Medical Transcription in Health Care.”  Here is a pdf of the slides. AHDIWebinar_Transcription_Relevance_20110517

Key points:

Medical transcription:

  1. Is part of HIM.
  2. Can support Meaningful Use, ICD-10 coding, and computer assisted coding (CAC).
  3. Must provide documentation that is valuable and useful.
  4. Must emphasize quality of content over print format and cost.
  5. Supports options and flexibility for increased adoption.
  6. Can be cost-effective without sacrificing MT pay.

Back in the earlier days of speech recognition (and in fact many health care facilities and transcription companies  still follow these practices today), the best practices for speech recognition were much more limiting than they are now.  They tended to be directed at productivity – not towards the cost-effective creation of useful documentation.

Unfortunately, the emphasis on productivity and cost savings caused us to lose sight of what it is that we do – create high-quality, accurate, clinical documentation – and who creates it – the highly skilled, knowledgeable, Career-Minded, Medical Transcriptionist.

I myself stood up in front of a roomful of people at the 2006 AHIMA national conference and gave recommendations such as:

  • Select physicians carefully
  • Select MTs carefully. You will have plenty of volume left for traditional transcription.  Leave your high-producers in transcription and move your low- to mid-range producers to speech rec.
  • Have your MTs perform “as dictated” editing as much as possible.
  • Encourage physicians to adopt best practices for speech recognition.

That was before I came to M*Modal and realized that the right technology allows us to view documentation from a different perspective.  It allows us to get the real value and use out of clinical documents rather than only using them to check off a requirement on a chart completion list.  Luckily even the most stubborn of us can learn fast when we want to.  🙂

Today that list would look more like:

  • Bring on the doctors – let the technology sort out which result in quality sufficient for editing and which do not.
  • Train all of your MTs to edit.  Advanced speech recognition technology will cover a significant portion of the transcription volume.  Transcription IS editing.
  • Pay your highly-skilled, highly productive transcriptionists appropriately as they move into speech.  You cannot deliver the quality of documentation necessary to support requirements for meaningful use, ICD-10, or computer assisted coding, without them.
  • Create the requirements for documentation according to usefulness and quality.  “You get what you say” does not result in documentation that consistently adheres to content or quality needs.
  • The “average % productivity gained” is not the correct metric to use to measure the results of speech recognition; nor is it the correct means to determine a compensation plan.
  • Get your cost savings through a combination of effective use of the technology and workforce and performance management.  Understand that cost benefits come from increased output from fewer staff members – not a high average % increase.  Your increased output will allow you to take on more volume without increasing staff.  If your output increases enough that you can decrease staff, get rid of the “hobby MTs” and reward your Career-Minded MTs for making you more efficient.

Medical transcription must be about delivering high-quality, comprehensive, useful information – not cheap documentation – if it is to stay relevant as an enabler of health information technology.

All the best as always,



6 Responses

  1. Lynn, I cannot thank you enough for the webinar yesterday. It was just what I needed to stay focused and pursue my own MT/SRE professional goals.

    There was so much good food for thought in that presentation and I am delighted that you linked the slides 🙂

    I sincerely hope more folks in our profession take the time to view them, really think about where we are headed, and what we can and do bring to HIM.

    Thanks so much,
    Mary Lands

    • Thank you for your comment Mary, and good luck!

  2. Lynn,

    I have attended two of your webinars in the past two months and you always give me something new to think about. Thank you.

    I was the one who asked a rather long-winded question at the May 17th webinar. You asked me to contact you and you would direct me to an AHIMA article that was directly related to my question. Could you email me that information? I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks again,
    Rebecca Ellenbecker, CMT

  3. Hi, Lynn,
    Kicking myself for missing your webinar–will try not to miss the next one!

    Your comment, “Understand that cost benefits come from increased output from fewer staff members – not a high average % increase. Your increased output will allow you to take on more volume without increasing staff” is one of the most important management takeaways in my view.

    I know that this blog is aimed at MTSOs, hence its title, but in-house transcription departments do still exist, and they can benefit from this advice as well. I have two colleagues who manage very different transcription departments, one a multihospital centralized department of 100 MTs, one a small semirural hospital of 10 MTs. Yet both have embraced speech rec editing in exactly the way you described. Their goal in implementing SRE was to reduce the amount of overflow work that they sent to outside services. And in both cases, they have met this goal.

    Additionally, the MTs at both hospitals love speech rec editing and would absolutely not go back to transcribing “the old way.”

    Thanks again for more insightful posts and presentations. Keep spreading the word! With ICD-10 coming, I don’t think the healthcare industry can do without us.

    • Hello Susan! How are you? You know, I was thinking last week or so that I really wish I had named the blog differently to include both providers and MTSOs – the problem now is that it’s known by its current name. But maybe I’ll bite the bullet and change it because you are absolutely right! Your comment about ICD-10 coming is so true. Transcription will remain an important part of health care documentation if we can continue to use it to provide value – and do it cost effectively.

      Thanks for the comment!!

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