Voice Recognition and Medical Transcription

Bryan Bergeron, MD

In This Article

Offshore Transcribing

It would be unfair to look at voice-recognition transcription options without mentioning one of the largest movements in the medical transcription industry -- outsourcing transcription offshore. As shown in Figure 4, the process is invisible to the user. In fact, it's exactly like "old-fashioned" transcription services, with banks of transcriptionists who listen to dictation, type in the report, and return it to the clinician for signing.

Offshore transcription. Clinicians use a toll-free number to leave a voice dictation, and the electronic reports are returned within a day or 2 for sign-off.

One difference is that the transcriptionists happen to be in India or Pakistan, and the dictation files and reports are transmitted electronically over the Internet. The other, major difference is cost. The cost of offshore transcription services can be so inexpensive relative to the alternatives available in United States, including voice recognition, that it's the obvious solution. If you're curious about offshore transcription, try a search on Google for "Medical Transcription India." As a point of reference, Outsource2India seems representative of the many offshore transcription options available.

In my view, there are only 2 impediments to offshore transcription -- volume and HIPAA. First, if you're a small practice, you many not have the volume necessary to set up an account with an offshore agency (currently, most offshore companies are marketing to the larger-volume users, such as hospitals). Second, HIPAA may make some medical institutions reconsider local options if they are uncertain of how the HIPAA rules on security and privacy apply.


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