Nuance VP Weighs In On State Of Medical Transcription

By: Jay Vance, CMT
AHDI Lounge Administrator/Moderator

ADVANCE blogger and Nuance Corporate Communications Senior Manager Holly Dewar has a post out today featuring a Q&A session with Peter Durlach, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy for Nuance. Excerpts of Durlach’s comments include:

The MT industry will be evolving over the next five years based on two key goals faced by healthcare organizations: reducing operational costs and driving toward Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records (EHR). To reduce costs, many healthcare organizations will increasingly adopt background speech recognition to gain efficiencies in medical transcription. This means that most MTs will function as speech editors – with their value demonstrated in producing high quality draft documents for physician review versus original document creation.

Off-shoring will remain a key component of the MT industry. Offshore companies that provide editing services will offer several advantages to healthcare organizations. They can help keep costs low, they can deliver high quality documents (easier with editing than straight transcription), and they can fill resource needs during ‘off hours’ in the U.S.

[H]ealthcare organizations will find increasing numbers of clinicians who wish to do their own clinical documentation, both through point-and-click interfaces and through real-time speech recognition with self-editing. This trend is likely to affect the transcription volume available for MTs during the next five years though it is difficult to project the speed at which the change will occur, and the overall impact. One reason why it is hard to gauge the impact, is that the migration away from paper-based systems is also adding to the volume of patient records that need to be created electronically – either by MTs or by the clinicians themselves.

The most common approach [to EHR integration] is one that has been used successfully for many years; documents completed within a transcription platform are uploaded using HL7 interfaces into the EHRs. A new approach utilized by some organizations, has MTs editing documents that have been dictated by clinicians directly into the EHR. Healthcare organizations will be looking to bridge their transcription systems and processes to those of the EHR, taking advantage of technologies such as speech recognition to do so.

To encourage young people to enter the MT field, they need to be aware of two key trends and hone their skills accordingly. First, they need to be proficient with speech editing, as more healthcare organizations will incorporate background speech recognition to gain efficiencies in medical transcription. Second, they need to emphasize their role in ensuring quality reports, through medical knowledge and attention to detail. MTs will increasingly be valued as a core contributor to the final version of patient’s medical records.

Some may infer that because the MT role is a portable and family friendly one, it is less professional than others. However, as most enlightened managers and organizations realize, being ‘family friendly’ is actually one way to keep and retain dedicated employees.