Many doctors are frustrated with time spent on clinical documentation and how it cuts into both their personal lives and patient care. Implementing the right medical transcription strategy can help.

A third of physicians spend over 20 hours a week on paperwork and administration, equivalent to 4,000 clicks a day in the digital era. That’s not to mention homework. According to a recent study, family doctors spend 86 minutes of nightly “pajama time” completing notes in the EHR.

For the busy physician, efficient medical transcription is a vital way to minimize time spent on clinical documentation. But EHR notes and other reports must be accurate, timely and well-polished.

With a growing list of medical dictation softwares and third party solutions, how should you choose the best approach for your practice?

Small practices generally consider three transcription options:

  1. perform transcription in-house
  2. outsource it to a medical transcription service
  3. use voice-recognition software to digitally translate verbal dictation into writing

Let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of each approach to medical transcription.

Transcribe in-house

Whether they’re employed in-house or by a third-party service, trained transcriptionists save physicians time by writing out and editing dictations for personal notes, charts or communication with other health care professionals.

Having a medical transcriptionist on your staff seems like an appealing option for many doctors. If a transcriptionist is in the room taking notes during the patient visit, communicating with them is easy and you have more control over the note that gets written.

However, many smaller practices won’t be able to afford hiring a full-time transcriptionist. If this person is part of your clinical staff, you are responsible for the hiring process and will need to plan for sick days, vacation and providing appropriate training. In addition to their salary, you will want to consider the cost of the physician taking over to write or review transcriptions when necessary. Even just a few hours of a doctor’s time can significantly add to your practice’s transcription costs.

Outsource to a medical transcription service

The third-party transcription industry has evolved from taped recordings sent via mail to the web-based services we now think of. Most services charge a fee per line of transcription – usually between 6 and 14 cents – and for practices that generate lots of reports it can be a relief to outsource that workload. Third-party medical transcription includes several layers of quality control, meaning several people check for errors before returning the document for a physician’s signature.

One problem with outsourcing medical transcription is lag time. While some services might return a document within hours, other services and document types may require up to 48 or 72 hours to return. Depending on your practice, this can negatively affect your overall workflow.

Voice-recognition software

Both in-house transcription and third-party services are changing with advances in natural language processing. NLP is the ability for computers to understand human speech, and it has led to a range of voice-recognition softwares that can automate a huge portion of the transcription process.

Voice-recognition software has made third-party transcription options both faster and cheaper because computers can now automate most of the work with just a small amount of editing by a trained professional. But some physicians prefer to take matters into their own hands – literally.

One example of voice-recognition software is Mobius Scribe, a mobile app that provides next-generation dictation at the point of care. Scribe uses deep learning and neural net technology developed by Nuance – a leader in the voice-recognition and medical transcription industries – to allow medical dictation directly into the EHR.

Mobile-compatible voice-recognition softwares like Scribe offer a few major benefits, especially for small practices. Doctors can save time and improve accuracy by dictating clinical notes during the patient visit. The patient, who witnesses this process, can ensure accurate record keeping and is given a more active role in their own care. Finally, instant transcription streamlines clinical workflow because the physician’s note is immediately viewable by the rest of the medical team.

Voice-recognition software has improved immensely in just a few years, making automated dictation at the point of care more accurate and convenient than ever. Ultimately, the best transcription solution will depend on the size of you practices, the resources you have available and your existing transcription and documentation workflow.

For specific software recommendations and tips for choosing the right product, see this list of medical transcription softwares and services from Business News Daily.

Burnt out? The doctor prescribed medical dictation