Posts Tagged ‘Best Medical Transcription Companies’
We spend a lot of time serving hospitals, and the times are changing. Hospitals today are doing critical work in the most real-time setting there is – the doors never close; patients never stop arriving. Many of them are embracing ground breaking, forward thinking work under tremendous pressure to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape. No rest for the weary!
The clarion call to deliver a more personalized, flexible and empowered health care experience to a highly invested customer base (remember, patients are customers after all) is one heard across the country. While the topic of health care is landing square in the eye of the storm these days, we thought it would be interesting to showcase a few herculean efforts hospitals are making to forge the new frontier.
In a two-part post, we’ll introduce a few heroic hospitals doing some heavy lifting, breaking ground from which other hospitals can draw inspiration:
The Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine is working toward leveraging the power of gene sequencing, which looks to patients’ genomic blueprints to determine aspects of their health. In a piece for US News and World Report, the center’s director, Gianrico Farrugia, said the primary value should be the needs of the patients, and, “We can’t live up to it unless we turn to genomics.” Perhaps in the not too distant future, patients will be able to tote their genome mapping on their iPads.
This sizzling hot new delivery mode enables clinicians to interface with patients via video conferencing to assess, diagnose and monitor health issues remotely. Telemedicine most often benefits patients and families in rural communities by broadening access to distant specialists; plus, hospitals can bring in readily accessible staff to meet unexpected demands, such as in the ER. Mercy Health was an early pioneer in telehealth, beginning in 2006, equipping its ICU with telemedicine capabilities. Since then, Mercy has reduced mortality rates to 20 percent below the expected level, and reduced hospitals stays’ durations by 30 percent, according to the US News & World Report.
Physicians in Executive Leadership
The entrenched hierarchies that divided a hospital’s clinical and administrative staff are dissipating. After all, who has a deeper understanding the real needs of patients than doctors on the front lines? Today an increase in physician hospital executives who work in tandem with hospital administration to develop policy and make critical decisions regarding patient care is a model garnering more interest. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, now there are more than 60 joint MD-MBA degree programs, compared to only a smattering in the 1990s, for example.
Becker’s cited San Diego-based Scripps Health as one example of a system that broadened physicians’ role in decision-making. When the Physician Leadership Cabinet was created, the group included chiefs of staff and CEOs from each hospital campus, along with the VP of nursing. The cabinet strengthens collaboration between Scripps administrators and physicians as they develop strategies to improve quality and efficiency while reducing costs and clinical variation. Win win!
We applaud the continuous efforts of progressive minded hospitals to innovate toward improved patient care, reduced waste and costs, and a more flexible, empowered patient experience. As always, we stand ready to empower physicians with an integrated approach to capturing the physician’s narrative with accuracy and speed. After all, it all begins with a patient’s story. More on that in part 2!
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We always remember that the people we serve are patients, who are served by doctors, who often work in bustling hospitals and relentless emergency rooms. What was your last experience in the ER like? Efficient, or agonizing? We’re betting you remember exactly how long it was before you were seen, particularly if your emergency didn’t include spurting blood or broken bones. It’s never fun.
According to the CDC, between 2003 and 2009, wait times in hospital emergency departments increased by 25%, or from 46.5 minutes to 58.1 minutes on average. No one likes to wait, and languishing in the ER, holding onto a throbbing arm or a wailing toddler tops of the list. A possible solution? Telemedicine. Yes, George Jetson, the future is here. One medical school on the cutting edge is forging the new frontier.
Citing an epidemic of overcrowding for more than 2 decades, The UC San Diego School of Medicine recently launched a pilot program to explore the merits of connecting doctors to patients from remote locations when the ER gets overwhelmed. How? You guessed it – by empowering technology to become more humanizing. The doctor will see you NOW – albeit via computer monitor.
According to UC San Diego, “The study is the first of its kind in California to use cameras to bring on-call doctors who are outside of the hospital to the patient in need.” Aside from decreasing patient wait times and improving patient care, the project may help alleviate the staffing issues associated with matching adequate resources to erratic ER cycles.
Dubbed the Emergency Department Initiative to Rapidly Accommodate in Times of Emergency (EDTITRATE), consenting patients are prioritized accordingly and linked to an offsite (but immediately available) physician via high fidelity sound and video, or telemedicine station. An ER nurse facilitates the process. High fidelity sound and video enables the telemedicine physician to examine a patient’s eyes, nose, throat and skin, listening to the heart and lung sounds through the module. Lab and imaging tests may be ordered, reviewed and documented as well. Finally, the attending physician onsite reassesses the patient to confirm findings and actions, and can take time to address patient concerns and questions.
Funded by a $50K grant by the University of California Health Quality Improvement grant, the goal is to expand the project’s reach to the ED in La Jolla. If successful, hospitals across the nation may adopt a similar model.
What are your thoughts? Is this one more step toward improving patient care and satisfaction, particularly with the market opening to so many more people? Or, does telemedicine create one more barrier to the connection between doctor and patient? Time will tell. Till then, we’re keeping the pulse on the response.
We don’t think so. We might be biased, as a regional clinical documentation company. As you may know, the clinical documentation industry has endured a serious overhaul. We’ve stood witness to crushing buy-outs and massive consolidations over the past decade.
Back then, more than a dozen large companies occupied the marketplace for medical transcription, with hundreds more small and mid-sized companies serving local and regional markets. A scant four years ago, Medquist, Spherus, CBay, M*Modal, Nuance, and Transcend soaked up the lion’s share of the clinical documentation services market. Today – just M*Modal and Nuance remain standing, with smaller and mid-sized companies either swallowed up, scrambling to survive, or carefully adapting to new technologies.
We fall under the latter – a mid-sized firm continuing to build long-standing relationships, offering a robust system that integrates with more than 400 EHRs, and a demonstrating a relentless commitment to service. It’s why the little guy still rocks.
What Consolidation Means for Healthcare Providers
What does the distilling of so many companies into just a couple mammoths mean for providers? On one level, consolidation makes sense. If the holy grail of clinical documentation is nation-wide interoperability, so that medical records are accessible across varied providers during the course of a patient’s lifetime, then consolidation would seem to empower that process. After all, which is easier to integrate: one or two different systems, or hundreds in competition with one another?
On the other hand, an industry dominated by a handful of big players does not necessarily serve the cause of interoperability. In fact, large companies which are engaged in a cutthroat, all-out war for market share, particularly in an industry undergoing rapid change, will be torn between competing business strategies. The first strategy entails attempting to become a one-stop shop for all needs, thereby excluding other systems from working with your particular system. The other promotes a more open architecture, where your system integrates well with others, thereby promoting adaptability, albeit at the expense of winning all aspects of a client’s business.
The lesson for medical practices and hospitals on a budget (or really any healthcare provider) is that taking an incremental approach to improving clinical documentation may be a better strategy than wiping your previous processes from the slate and trying to start fresh. In order to do that, it may be wise to steer clear from industry giants engaged in a competitive struggle for market share, and instead toward a mid-sized vendor which can integrate with existing systems. Flexibility and adaptability are king.
In fact, many mid-sized clinical documentation vendors ensure that their solutions can integrate with any system out there. This may reflect a commitment to open standards, or it could just be out of competitive necessity. Since they can’t achieve “one-stop-shop” status, these companies have made it part of their business model to integrate. iData fits squarely into this category.
Small Companies, Big Wins
But there are added benefits to working with smaller vendors. First, when something goes wrong, you don’t necessarily get shuffled through the beaurocracy of a larger organization. Truth is, each client doesn’t matter to them as much as to smaller companies, who literally depend on every single client for their livelihood. Around here, if something goes wrong, you can often get transferred straight to the CEO (that’s me) with your issues.
Next, smaller companies are typically more agile and innovative than more entrenched organizations. We’re continuously working harder to create new and better solutions, products and services to keep our clients satisfied; otherwise, we perish. We stay hungry – and we stay on the line with our customers. Win win!
So being the biggest doesn’t mean being the best. After all, small is mighty.
It’s how Wal-Mart discovered people buy more Pop-Tarts before a big storm. It’s how researchers in Canada discovered when vital signs are unusually stable there is a correlation to a serious fever 24-hours later. It’s how air traveler’s can determine which flights are likely to arrive on time. What is it? Big data. And it’s potential for tracking and predicting the future is, well, big!
According to his piece in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Why ‘Big Data’ is a Big Deal,” L. Gordon Crovitz argues that the next frontier to conquer lies in harnessing the inexhaustible amount of data we now search, share, transfer and store. We can all see that information gets captured everywhere, from our transactions at Target to our flu symptoms into the electronic health record. (EHR) So what is Big Data, exactly?
In Crovitz’ WSJ piece, he introduces the newly minted book, Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, written by Oxford scholar Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, and Kenneth Cukier, data editor at The Economist. The book he says, “should spur policy makers to rethink how to protect privacy while enabling more access to data.” Eye; there’s the rub – especially where health care is concerned.
“Big data differs from traditional information in mind-bending ways. For one thing, the authors write, ‘society will need to shed some of its obsession for causality in exchange for simple correlations: not knowing why but only what. This overturns centuries of established practices and challenges our most basic understanding of how to make decisions and comprehend reality,’” writes Crovitz.
Just exactly what is Big Data? It’s the popular vernacular to describe the exponential growth, availability and use of information, both structured and unstructured. Analyzing large data has typically been used primarily in target marketing, but will become a key basis of competition, spurring productivity, growth, innovation, and consumer surplus.
What interested us most about this piece was Crovitz’ pronouncement that the health care sector has much to gain by using big data – to improve health care, and to capture critical information to predict, track and treat a range of medical care issues.
“Using big data to improve health care is one of the biggest opportunities, but current laws make it hard to mine even data aggregated from many patients. If we had electronic records of Americans going back generations, we’d know ore about genetic propensities, correlations among symptoms, and how to individualize treatments,” Crovitz writes.
The authors of the book Crovitz touts argue that the risk of compromising privacy ought to be balanced against the potential of making health related information available to researchers. What are your thoughts?
At iData, our robust systems capture an inordinate amount of patient data every day. To what end could that data be utilized? If clinicians were to extract critical data from patient records to analyze trends and make predictions – both from a business perspective and a wellness and public safety perspective – what potential could the results yield?
So while our transcriptionists are busy keying in data to interface with patient records, we’re exploring the added value delivered by data that can be combined, tracked and interpreted along with other sources of data. We’re ready for the new frontier – what about you?
In our industry, turn-around-time, or TAT, is everything – well, part and parcel with accuracy and quality. Each one is critical component – we have to deliver it all. Every medical transcription company claims their service is the speediest. But how do they prove it?
And if they’re not measuring up – do they put their money where their mouth is? They should. We do.
24: More than just a T.V. Show
First – yes; you should expect a medical transcription provider to deliver – but also, to prove they’re doing it. It’s critical, because patient records provide necessary information from which the clinician’s work flows – for analyzing history, making diagnosis, making references to specialists and protecting against litigation. Never underestimate the power of the patient record!
So of course, the speed with which data is extracted, recorded and returned is paramount, and turn-around-time to our industry is akin to arrival and departure times in the airline industry. It’s the basis by which our success is measured. The “gold standard?” Ideally, most reports should be returned in 12 – 18 hours, others, from the emergency room for example, should arrive back within 1 – 6 hours.
At iData, we guarantee our turn-around-time, or our clients don’t pay. We think it doesn’t get any more committed than that!
Drilling down: Questions to ask your Clinical Documentation Provider
There are plenty of choices in finding a clinical documentation provider – no argument there. Of course we think you should choose our locally owned small business because we invest so intimately in our customers. Regardless of your choice, it should be an informed one, so we recommend asking the following questions when searching for a new provider:
- What is your average turn-around-time in delivering reports? A provider should have no trouble giving you a solid answer on this and should provide exacting data to show a history.
- What quality controls are in place? Speed is critical, but it cannot be sacrificed at the expense of quality. A slip of the key, a misinterpreted medication dosage can cause serious damage. (Around here our systems ensure each report passes through no less than 3 quality controls. But that’s just us!)
- What kind of technology platform supports their infrastructure? It’s essential that a medical transcription provider use the most cutting edge technology that allows for mobile usage, cloud-based storage and EHR interface. We have to adapt even before our clients do so we can move at the speed of light when the time arrives.
- How do they measure turn-around-time? Each provider should offer their customers reports measuring their turn-around-time. It should be easy to analyze their performance based on delivery after initial data is provided and customers run their own real-time reports.
Like we said – our guarantee at iData is to deliver reports on time, every time – or our customers don’t pay. We’re pretty incentivized to get them turned around on time, every time. Just what the doctor ordered.
Earth Day has come and gone, but we think it’s sort of like Christmas. Shouldn’t we have a “green” spirit all year long?
Practicing ecologically sound and sustainable policies are garnering continued interest across the healthcare marketplace. Have you been introduced to the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI)? This collaborative effort between hundreds of hospitals, the Center for Health Design, and Practice Greenhealth seeks to improve environmental health and sustainability in the health care sector in 6 key areas: engaged leadership, healthier food, leaner energy, less waste, safer chemicals, and smarter purchasing.
Going green is far from today’s flavor of the month – it’s propelling to “new normal” status faster than a Silicon Valley coding competition.
IT departments can lead the charge, too. How do your efforts to reduce “e-waste” – or electronic equipment that is nearing, or at the end of its useful lifecycle - stack up? According to a recent blog post in Earth911, “In 2009, about 2.37 million tons of discarded TVs, computers, peripherals (including printers, scanners, fax machines), keyboards, mice and cell phones ended up in the waste stream in the U.S, according to EPA facts and figures.”
How does your medical center or business recycle, re-use or upcycle electronics that are no longer in play? Currently, there is no Federal mandate to recycle e-waste. There have been numerous attempts to develop a Federal law, but to date – no surprise – consensus hasn’t been reached. There are however, guidelines to follow within each state that rival the stringency of any Federal mandate.
Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials – metals, plastics, and glass – all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves natural resources and avoids air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions caused by manufacturing brand new materials.
The problem is, some electronics, such as color CRTs computer monitors, color CRT TV tubes, and smaller items such as cell phones and other “hand-helds” may test “hazardous” under Federal law. If so, they are subject to special handling requirements under Federal law, subject to certain exemptions. Still, the EPA does encourage the reuse and recycling of used electronics, including those that test “hazardous.” For those regulatory requirements, visit EPA’s website.
Responsible Stewardship of e-waste is a Health Matter
It’s in our local and global interest to dispose of e-waste carefully to prevent the exploitation of those in impoverished countries where much of the e-waste from the U.S. has historically been disposed. Media coverage of companies that transferred e-waste overseas where unsuspecting workers scavenged through potentially hazardous material to forage recyclable metals exposed the problem our e-waste caused. This spurred many states to pass e-waste recycling laws that help to ensure responsible recycling and disposal of hazardous materials – check out your state’ s policy here.
Of course, a great deal of electronic components relegated to “e-waste” status isn’t waste at all, but rather could serve as readily marketable for reuse. It’s why companies such as Bitlist.com have emerged to turn one man’s e-waste into another man’s aftermarket treasure. At iData, we recycle all of our electronics locally, and we’re always searching for new ideas and resources. What’s your organization’s policy? Check out EPA’s site for ideas on recycling electronics. And share your resources with us; let’s all work together to make every day, Earth Day.
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Last week’s heartbreak in Boston was one of those moments when the frenetic pace of life comes to a screeching halt. A moment that inspired us to stop and grieve, chime in across the social media chorus, reflect on our blessings and lament the fragile world in which we live.
We could despair – and we all do at some level. But in the days that follow, those of us who serve or work in the healthcare marketplace can use the moment to glean some new perspective. To consider what we really do – visualize who we’re really helping. It’s not just our hospitals and managers and clients, it’s doctors and nurses. (Or the “Helpers,” as a popular Mr. Rogers’ Facebook meme reminded us.)
It gives us pause to consider that the programs, hardware, software and data we’re working so relentlessly to manage, repair, design, analyze, code and protect serves the needs of heroes dressed in faded blue scrubs, and the sick and injured for whom they often sacrifice.
Here at iData, we’ve stopped for a moment to think about those medical records that now include lost limbs and shattered bones. With the physical and emotional trauma associated with what has historically celebrated as a joyous event marked by legendary Boston pride. At the end of the day, the data we work so hard to capture and report belongs to people.
It’s why we, and so many across our industry, should take pride in what we do. The infrastructure and processes we empower ensures that healthcare data is captured and delivered efficiently. Which means clinicians can work more smoothly. And that means something to the injured runner who will now count on his specialists to be able to access and share information seamlessly.
It’s the least we can do.
For a bit of inspiration, remember on those days when the project seems never ending, when you’ve pulled an all-nighter to repair a glitch, when you’re struggling to decipher a physician’s verbiage – that the hard work contributes to something meaningful. People’s health. What’s more important than that?
So on that fateful day, what started as triumph turned into tragedy. But then, it turned to triumph again as stories trickled in showcasing doctors, nurses, first responders and many spectators who jumped in to help. And as always in the face of trauma most of us can hardly fathom, medical center personal deftly, calmly and compassionately navigated the chaos and the carnage.
According to the Boston Globe, “More than 13 hospitals treated some 180 victims, many in critical condition; at least 10 of them were children. Speaking to the press, trauma surgeons and emergency room doctors from the largest hospitals — including Mass. General, Brigham and Women’s, Boston Medical Center, and Children’s updated the public regularly with detailed casualty reports, describing emergency amputations, shrapnel wounds, fractures, ruptured internal organs, and severe burns. In doing so, they supplied some of the first clues as to what could have caused the injuries they were treating.”
These are the professionals we serve. They are why we get up every day to do it all over again in the midst of setbacks and struggles. Their grace and grit and immeasurable contributions can inspire us to push through. We’re helpers, too after all.
Are doctors really in love with the Electronic Medical Record (EMR)? Or are they just making the best of a rocky relationship?
We’ve talked a lot about the EMR – whether the promise of cost effectiveness, increased efficiency, or decreased liability truly delivers. We know full implementation for many medical practices is still a long way off as administrators adapt to such a radical, costly, time-consuming change.
And, what about the doctors and other medical professionals who actually use an EMR system? What are their experiences? What are their responses to this massive shift in data capture and analysis? (more…)
You’re in the middle of a serious negotiation with the hospital’s CIO, and you hear a muted (but insistent) knock on the door of your home office. But wait – you told the kids not to disturb you unless it was an emergency.
With calm (sort of) urgency, you put the call on hold and swing open the door to find 2 sheepish eyes staring at the floor. No blood or fire in sight. Ugh. You dig out the lollipops and buy yourself some silence, because desperate times call for desperate measures!
According to the Telework Research Network, a 2010 study discovered that slightly more than 2% of America’s employees (or 2.8 million people, not including the self employed or unpaid volunteers) work from home. If you’re one of them, you know the plus-sides, and the inevitable drawbacks. Sure – you get to work in jeans and maybe set your own hours, but then, is your work ever really done? (more…)
Professionals who burn the candle at both ends are often rewarded for their blistering pace. But do we really want harried, sleep-deprived people making critical decisions, negotiating deals, and nurturing employees?
Our corporate culture prizes – even encourages – a relentless work ethic. But overstressed multi-taskers are often less productive. The body needs regular rest to perform at optimum levels. (I don’t have to tell you that. Your body does the talking, if you just listen carefully.)
The forthcoming 4th of July holiday is a timely reminder to take time to recharge, replenish and renew. To rest. There’s no crime in it – actually, it’s a gift you give to your employer. At iData, where our staff members face constant pressure to deliver reports on time with unyielding accuracy, we understand the consequences of stress. So we encourage taking time off. (It’s one of the reasons we can deliver – because we avoid burn-out.) (more…)