Top Trends Impacting the Medical Transcription Industry Technology, offshoring and pricing transparency among the key issues

October 24, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
The changing perceptions of offshoring, pricing transparency, and the ongoing development of voice recognition/speech recognition technology are among the key trends impacting the outsourced medical transcription industry. Heartland Information Services (, with its new management team focused on consistent growth, is leading the way among this next generation of transcription companies.

Positive shift in perceptions about offshoring

As providers continue to get a better understanding of the overall business benefits of offshore transcription – faster turnaround times which help speed the reimbursement process and reduce cost – the number of organizations using offshore transcription continues to grow. Current negative perceptions about offshore transcription will continue to diminish over time as companies begin to address customer concerns by directing more thorough training of employees and suppliers, conducting regular audits, leveraging technology to better guard Protected Health Information and ensuring that a systematic, thorough approach to HIPAA compliance at all levels (MTs and suppliers) is given the highest organizational priority.

Quality matters

While health care organizations continue to focus on speed, turnaround times and costs, quality transcription is equally important. In fact, hospitals and health systems have shown that they are willing to pay more for increased quality of work. Many offshore transcription companies have taken steps to improve the quality (as well as the security/privacy) of reports by providing their own secure facilities, hiring direct employees, having English-speaking editors perform quality reviews, modernizing their technology and software to enable more direct monitoring of MTs work, providing additional coaching and increasing accountability of both direct employees and suppliers.

“We have worked closely with our customers to understand how they define quality, and we have established rigorous criteria that exceed industry standards and meet the needs of our customers,” says Jerry Cirino, President and CEO of Heartland Information Services.

Speech recognition/Voice recognition technology improving, gaining acceptance

While the technology is still being enhanced, speech recognition continues to gain acceptance and is an area in the industry that will continue to see significant growth. Companies that recognize the importance of this technology are either in the midst of building their own speech recognition platforms or have acquired the platforms through mergers and acquisitions.

The use of speech recognition will lead to a shift in demand for back-end editing, which has resulted in an overall increase in productivity.

The move to Visual Black Character

While a large number of medical transcription companies still use pricing per line, the use of Visual Black Character (VBC) pricing, which is endorsed by AHIMA and MTIA, is emerging as the industry standard.

“We want it to be easy for our clients to understand and see the value of what we do. We typically price based on VBC because it is easiest for us or the client to audit and verify,” says Dennis Paulik, Executive Vice President, Business Strategies, Heartland Information Services.

Pricing transparency

Hospitals and health care systems are looking for their transcription partners to provide pricing transparency, which includes invoice reconciliation and the ability to track what the transcription is actually doing compared to what it says it’s doing.

“Heartland’s document delivery software, Tracker Plus, enables the provider to run a report in real time to determine how many VBCs have run, thus allowing them to reconcile invoices during any given period,” says Paulik.

Core competencies not forgotten

The medical transcription industry will continue to focus on ongoing core competencies such as timely turnaround times, faster responsiveness and customer service.

Says Cirino, “With ongoing labor shortages and continued pressure for healthcare organizations to reduce costs, the future of medical transcription, although continuing to evolve and expand, remains strong.”

About Heartland Information Services

Heartland Information Services specializes in high-quality, full-service medical transcription providing financial and service advantages that helps its clients reach or exceed goals. Heartland provides unparalleled efficiency, reliability and management capabilities while interfacing with virtually any health information system and software. Heartland’s corporate headquarters is located in Toledo, Ohio, with work centers in Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and Delhi, India. For more information visit