Off The Record


Posts Tagged ‘medical transcription jobs’

The ICD-10 Needs YOU

leading-the-pack-480908-sIt’s going to happen, right?  As soon as we finally cross the finish line to the ICD-10 transition, surely there will be plenty of skilled specialists on-hand to navigate the thousands of new codes to master.

Well, not exactly.

According to a piece in the ICD10 Monitor, “Limited coding resources long have been an industry reality. According to a June 2011 survey by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), 40 percent of respondents said shortages were the result of a lack of qualified coders. This mirrors similar findings from a 2009 AHIMA survey on coding practices. In a discipline rife with change, the coder shortage problem only will exacerbate problems as organizations migrate to ICD-10.”

Ouch.

Truth is, despite continued unemployment, medical coders remain in high demand.  Their work ensures critical payments and reimbursements travel through the billing cycle, and preserves the integrity and accuracy of the patient narrative with regard to procedures, diagnosis and billing.   Theirs is a critical role done without fanfare, quietly underwriting the healthcare marketplace’s profitability and patient satisfaction.

So why do we care?

It is in our interest for skilled medical coders to be in plentiful supply, as coding and transcription reside hand in hand.  The reports we painstakingly transcribe, or the data we enter into the EMR are turned over to coders.  Our work feeds theirs, and in turn, their efforts ensure the text we transcribe is accurately input into the system.

So what does it take to become an expert medical coder, able to leap tall buildings and wield 141,000 codes in a single minute? According to AHIMA, the following:

  • The ability to work independently
  • Strong knowledge of the medical terminology
  • Adept critical thinking and communication skills

Ideally, candidates for these careers are detail ninjas.  They naturally demonstrate a precision, and never accept the status quo.  They dig deeper, ask questions, check their sources, and dot their i’s and cross their t’s.

While there is no specific formal education required, many employers seek candidates with a Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS) certification. The process takes roughly a year to finish, and includes information about basic physiology, anatomy and the sciences. Other important components of the certification include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Computer database management
  • Billing and coding procedures
  • Insurance procedures

Think you’ve got what it takes?  The opportunities for medical coders and specialists are only going to increase. As health care providers and hospitals scramble to determine whether to outsource, or train new talent internally, the savvy job seeker wins the race to October 1, 2014.

Want to join in the conversation?  Leave a comment here, or on our Facebook page.

9-1-1 for the ICD-10: One of the many Challenges facing HIM Departments

It’s always a relief when a deadline is extended, and the new ICD-10 implementation is no exception.

According to HealthCare IT, in August, HHS announced a one-year delay as the launch date for compliance of the ICD-10 codes.  Beginning October 1, 2014, the ICD-10, or International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, will include some 155,000 codes for new procedures and diagnoses.  (Someone call a doctor for help!)

Compare that number to the 13,000 found across the ICD-9, plus, an inclusion of twice as many categories and an introduction to alphanumeric categories.  It’s obvious the transition is going to be ripe with challenges.  HIMs are scrambling for readiness, and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) is after CMS to offer help and support to expedite critical coordination between practices, software vendors and health plan partners.

“Very simply, the ICD-10 is behind schedule.  MGMA continues to advocate on behalf of members and provide tools and resources to help practice executives make the transitions to ICD-10 cost effective and less disruptive to their organizations,” said MGMA President and CEO Susan L. Turney, MD, according to the piece. 

Increased demand for HIM staff meets Less Revenue:  Outsourcing fills the gap

The switch is proving a daunting one for providers as they re-assess HIM strategies.  In his piece, “’Storm’s brewing for HIM,” HealthCare IT managing editor, Mike Milliard, cites findings from the KLAS (a company that measures healthcare vendor performance) study, HIM Services 2012: Helping to Weather the Storm, that claims the changes ushered in by the ICD-10 bring plenty of cost and disruptions all around.

The burgeoning Boomer population – along with the boom of new patients – in the system and increased regulatory requirements means a spike in productivity demands across technology staffing.  Problem is, healthcare reform will decrease revenue streams from government payers, affecting HIM departments’ abilities to adequately provide staffing.

The KLAS report discovered that providers are looking to outsourcing to fill the gap, particularly with regard to medical transcription, and specifically to clinical documentation providers to help with the transition to ICD-10 coding.  Hey – that’s us.

According to the KLAS report, providers identify consistent differences in performance across transcription vendors in turn-around-time (what we affectionately call TAT), quality and satisfaction.  No surprise there.

This is where a company such as iData – forgive us for saying so – shines.  Our expertly skilled documentation specialists thrive on challenges presented by the ICD-10 transition, because we can be a part of the solution.  Our robust, integrated, secure systems and services save our customers time and money, and boost physician productivity.  Our partnership can fill in the gap in staffing, and reduce the massive costs of implementing the ICD-10 into an EMR system, leaving your IT staff to focus on core business.

So don’t be afraid of the big, bad ICD-10.  With us in your corner, we’ll take 155,000 worries off the plate.

 

The Annual Report: Alive, Kicking and Grateful

KT HSYou may have heard the doom and gloom.  But Don’t buy into it.

Seems plenty have eagerly authored eulogies for the field of medical transcription.  The emergence of the EHR (Electronic Health Record) with its promise to deliver reduced costs, interoperability and shared patient data across platforms can’t be labeled, “Mission Complete” just yet.   It sounds like Utopia, but both the technology, and its usage is still maturing.

In the years since the passage of 2009’s HITECH Act, while much has been achieved in the name of Meaningful Use, we’re still very much navigating a time of transition.  And clinical documentation is front and center.  Can you remember any other time in history during which the patient record garnered so much press?

The EHR still has some work to do in making doctors happy.  Over and again, word is doctors are frustrated with entering patient data while trying to focus on patients.  The clinician’s narrative doesn’t always fit neatly into drop-down templates embedded into EHR systems, and voice recognition software still requires editors to proof and affirm the integrity and accuracy of the data.

In other words, the medical knowledge and human touch skilled transcriptionists bring to the table is still very much necessary, often even preferred.

While some say the future for medical transcription is bleak, we’re here to tell you that at iData, we’re thriving, and even growing as we head into 2014.   (We’ve noticed plenty of our competitors are still in business, too.)  As Mark Twain quipped, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”  Our roles are changing, but they’re hardly extinct.   We’re grateful for our loyal customers – hospitals, doctors and group practices – who are finding innovative ways to integrate our expertise into emerging technologies.  At the end of the day, we are the “faces” behind the integrity and safety of the patient record.

One of our largest customers, in fact, renewed a multiyear contract.  During negotiations no one issued even one complaint.  This is a facility to which we return hundreds of reports a week – in fewer than 90 minutes each!  So during this season of gratitude, we’re thankful for our talented staff of MT’s, editors and operations group who work tirelessly each day for our customers, and ultimately, for patients.

It’s true – our industry is adapting, and even facilitating the healthcare marketplace’s assimilation to the digital age.  Our work hasn’t been replaced, but instead complements the mandate for seamless EHR interfaces.  Our ability to capture discreet (or selected) data from dictated reports empower doctors toward efficiency, and our highly trained and skilled MT’s use templates to make report completion more efficient.  Further, when the clinician prefers, we use speech recognition. Agility, flexibility and diverse, robust solutions that address varied needs enable us to create customized solutions.  Oh yeah – and on time. Or it’s free.  Where else can you get that kind of guarantee?

So for us, the future’s a bright one.  Our plan is to stay ahead of trends, embrace change and innovate new solutions – just like our customers.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Joyful Holiday Season!  For the record, you’re the reason we exist!

Is a Career as a Medical Transcriptionist Right for Me? Get the skinny on a job that requires beefed up skills

 

She’s wearing a robe and slippers, expertly wrangling two kids, typing with fevered competence and raking in the dough. Isn’t that what you’ve heard about the life of a professional Medical Transcriptionist (MT)?

The myth is almost always more exaggerated than reality. Truth is, if you’re looking to switch professions to one that offers flexible hours, generous wages, and of course, job satisfaction, training to become a Medical Transcriptionist  (MT) might just turn out to be a dream come true.

Then again, it might not.

iData is home to the industry’s sharpest MT’s. (No bias here!)  They would likely tell you that their jobs don’t exactly reflect the pictures you’ve seen – lounging on cozy chairs with laptops, sipping coffee.  Taking care of our customers – hospitals, doctors and records managers that depend on us to transcribe data with integrity, accuracy, and speed happens to be pretty serious business.  It’s often stressful, and it’s fast-paced. (more…)

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