Q&A: Considerations for outsourcing transcription

July 9, 2018
Medicare Web

Q. Our facility is looking into outsourcing our transcription. What should we consider before we make the leap?

A. Many organizations have turned to outsourcing to manage their transcription, either completely or to supplement their in-house transcription resources. An advantage of outsourcing is it can eliminate the need to purchase expensive technology. When deciding whether to outsource, keep in mind the following:

  • How does the vendor charge for its services? The methods for charging vary. It could be by line, character, word, minute, or even type of report.
  • What turnaround time do you require? Often there is a surcharge for STAT reports or even for faster than standard TAT.
  • What quality-checking mechanism does the vendor use? Will you receive quality and other reports? What kind? These quality reports may assist you with providing reports needed by the medical staff and others for timeliness of documentation and other quality measures.
  • Are their transcriptionists working off-shore? There is a major trend toward using transcriptionists from India and the Philippines, among other countries. Consider the potential language barriers and technical issues associated with this as well as the cost.
  • Do they use back-end speech recognition? Generally, companies that employ this technology (and many do) can provide transcription services for less. Be sure they pass this savings on to you.
  • How long is the contract, and what remedy to you have if you are dissatisfied?
  • How many work types are allowed? Templates? Can macros and standard formats be implemented, and will the price of those reports be reduced as a result?
  • How are report headers considered in the calculations?

Check the references for any transcription company with which you are thinking of contracting. Also involve your information technology department early and often in the project.

For more information, see The Contemporary Guide to Health Information Management.

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