Tracking time and productivity is important for any business. It helps managers gain insight on how everyone can improve their productivity levels, which in turn, will contribute to improved workflow throughout the organization. Productivity measurement is very important when it comes to evaluating medical transcription outsourcing services and in-house transcription.
- Focus on quality: With the continued evolution of clinical documentation, technologies, and reasonable expectations of customers and service providers, measuring staff productivity and overall performance has become very important for medical transcription service providers. Various aspects such as quality assurance, timeliness of the information, and volume of the information need to be quantified and measured. Of these, measuring the text content of a transcribed document is the most widely discussed topic.
Previously, the standard unit of measure for medical record transcription was the 65-character AAMT line. The 65-character line described the text content of the medical report and was inclusive of letters, numbers, and symbols and other elements. However, there were many concerns about the use of the AAMT line. After evaluating the existing measurement standards — the ASCII line, the 65-character line, gross line, gross page, per minute pricing, and visible black character (VBC) measurement standards, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Joint Task Force on Standards Development identified VBC as the only counting method that could be “easily understood, verified, and replicated” by the vendor or the medical transcription company and the healthcare entity. The task force recommended that this all organizations producing medical transcription, including those using in-house staff to transcribe dictation should adopt this definition (perspectives.ahima.org).
According to an article in Radiology Today, measuring medical transcription productivity should be more than just about tracking numbers – it should be about quality. A reliable medical transcription service company would focus on improving document quality, decreasing turnaround time, and boosting physician satisfaction.
- Measure transcriptionist productivity: Whether in-house or outsourced, monitoring transcriptionists’ performance is essential to meet productivity goals. This should include monitoring inactive time when transcriptionists are not actively working on a clinical document. According to the www.radiologytoday.net article, tracking excessive inactive time can help a manager understand the difference as to what the medical transcription is producing compared to what they could be deliver if they were fully productive. In specialty services like radiology transcription where editors are common, measuring proficiency can provide actionable information for training and mentoring to improve productivity and efficiency.
- Evaluate accuracy and timeliness: Leading medical transcription companies strive to provide a 99% accuracy rate. Producing a clean, accurate transcript from the source document /dictation should be the top priority. In fact, transcript accuracy can make a major difference when it comes to delivering quality patient care. When it comes to clinical documentation, even simple typos can be catastrophic. Experienced transcriptionists are well versed in medical terminology and can also ensure proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling, which can be important in conveying the original message correctly.
Speed or turnaround time (TAT) is another factor to consider when measuring transcription productivity. Expert transcriptionists can type a minimum of 65 words per minute and complete reports within the specified deadline. But while speed is important, accuracy should be the top priority.
- Assess workflow: Workflow plays an important role in overall productivity in both hospitals and medical transcription service organizations. Proper workflow is essential to improve customer satisfaction as well as productivity. For example, if a transcriptionist is learning a new skills like editing, it can reduce productivity. Time taken to complete a document can be greater when the transcripts have to go through several levels of quality assurance (QA), such as in medical transcription outsourcing companies. Productivity expectations are higher in this case. Likewise, in domestic workflows, managers need to count the time spent on QA per transcriptionist when measuring overall productivity.
- Consider other factors: Many variables can impact a medical transcriptionist’s work and should be factoring in when measuring their productivity. These include:
- Whether transcription is done manually or automated (speech recognition technology)
- If the transcriptionist is dealing with difficult audio or handling the accounts of several physicians
- Whether the individual is handling both transcription and editing
- Experience and skill
In an established medical transcription service company, managers will clearly define and communicate productivity expectations and goals to the team. This is important to set realistic, reasonable tasks and deadlines to meet client goals.