Off The Record

What’s in a name? Clinical Documentation vs. Medical Transcription

Clinical Documentation: The Industry Formerly Known as Medical Transcription

It’s no secret technology’s transforming the Clinical Documentation (formerly known as Medical Transcription) industry.   Like businesses everywhere, the technological revolution to which we’re bearing witness requires every one of us to adapt in ways both significant and sublime.  And in an industry that’s defined by words, it’s big news that we’re changing the verbiage we use to describe just what it is that we do.

A quick visit to the Medical Transcription Industry Association’s (MTIA) website and you’ll notice that while the URL is the same, their name has changed. Our industry’s primary trade association was just recently minted the Clinical Documentation Industry Association (CDIA).   We think that’s pretty big news.

So what’s in a name?

Once upon a time, Medical Transcription entailed transcribing, or converting voice-recorded reports dictated by clinicians, into text format.  From the in-house employee to the outsourced professional, Medical Transcriptionists have long provided a critical service to the healthcare industry in producing those reports used for coding and billing.

Today, new technologies are redefining the task, broadening the scope of our service offerings to include the capture, editing, formatting, security and storage of clinical documentation.  Our industry is adapting to the complexities in today’s legislative, technological and medical advances, offering services that reach every touch point of the clinical documentation spectrum.

In migrating toward the EMR, the role of transcribing the information is also changing.  Voice–to-text, and voice recognition technologies that automate the transcription of data now require exacting editing to ensure the reports are accurate. So the role of the Medical Transcriptionist is also evolving as they embrace a new kind of  “knowledge worker” status.

So, is the news of this evolving technology an indication traditional medical transcription – wherein steady hands and sharp minds decipher the voice of a clinician – is on the decline, as some might predict?

Not so fast.

While iData is equipped with a range of options to meet the varied needs of our customers, we still believe wholeheartedly in the traditional method of transcription.  Newer technologies are still being refined, as is the medical industry’s assimilation to meaningful use of the EMR.  But considering the health history of a patient bears no margin for error, we can tell you the traditional transcriptionist’s skills are still in high demand.

We wonder, though, should we change their titles to, “Clinical Documentation Specialists”?  Stay tuned!


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    • Kendall Tant, CEO, iData on October 21, 2011 at 12:14 pm

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