Understanding Medical Transcription Costs

The costs of dictation and medical transcription are usually borne by physician’s offices and healthcare facilities. The amount spent every year to transcribe clinical dictation into medical text is runs into billions of dollars and continues to rise. A reliable transcription company can provide healthcare facilities with transcription services at affordable rates. Outsourcing to an established service provider is much more cost-effective than doing transcription within the medical service provider’s facility. However, while outsourcing, healthcare establishments should be cost conscious, consider billing methods and understand the different aspects of cost.

  • Billing by line and billing per minute of dictation: Most companies charge per line of transcribed text. The Association for Healthcare Documentation (AHDI) defines a standard line as one with 65 characters. Some companies define a line based on the number of characters with spaces. There are service providers that charge for capitalization, bolding, and underlining, that is, per keystroke. There could be charges for incomplete lines or starting a new line. The golden rule is that healthcare facilities need to be aware of the prospective transcription service provider’s definition of a line to get a clear idea of their pricing policy. Some companies charge per minute of dictation, per page of transcribed text, or even a consistent monthly rate.
  • Turnaround time (TAT): TAT is the time taken for the report to be dictated, transcribed, and verified by the physician. Medical reports have to be completed on a timely basis for medical and legal reasons, failing which the medical records department could face legal problems.

Different types of hospital records have different TAT, ranging between 12 to 72 hours. For instance, the TAT for stat reports such as radiology and pathology reports could be 12 hours or less; current reports such as history and physical reports, consultations, and operative notes typically have a 24-hour TAT; for aged reports like discharge summaries and emergency room notes, TAT is usually 72 hours. Many firms offer customized TAT.

TAT influences cost. So the medical practitioner must know how the service provider defines standard TAT and what the charges are.

Other factors that may raise cost are extra charges for QA, initial set up, poor audio quality, and dictation via smart phone applications.

Healthcare facilities should look for an established, reliable, HIPAA compliant medical transcription company that can provide transcription services at affordable rates. MTS offers many pricing advantages such as a free digital recorder for volume transcription contracts, special volume rates, customizable TAT, and a no-obligation free trial.