Digital Medical Transcription

By: Danielle Chazen

digital medical transcription


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More organizations and professionals in the medical field are turning to transcription for documentation. This preference to convert spoken words into text-based computer files is known as digital medical transcription. Experts are now estimating that the medical transcription market will reach more than $70 billion by 2026.

Why Digital Medical Transcription is Seeing Growth

Medical transcription is being used in a variety of ways, including documentation of history and physical reports, discharge summaries, operative notes or reports, and consultation reports. In addition to implementing this technology to create workplace efficiencies, digital transcription is being used to improve patient outcomes and provide further engagement between medical professionals and their clients.

Improved Patient Outcomes

Establishing trust with medical professionals is paramount to patients. During appointments with patients, doctors are often required to split their time and attention between listening and documenting. When doctors are able to record and transcribe dialogue that occurs during appointments, they are able to disconnect from their computers and instead connect with their patients directly. Trust is further established when patients experience more focus from their physicians. This trust can also lead to better medical outcomes.

According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, “physician assurance [that symptoms would diminish] reduces patient symptoms.” A 2008 study that aligns with these results further clarifies that “Researchers found a positive association between… trust and commitment and patients’ adherence to healthy eating behaviors recommended by their physician,” reported the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Cleanliness and Safety

In operation rooms, every moment counts. Distraction is common when doctors are required to document procedures. Needing to constantly touch their computers or pens for documentation makes it more challenging to keep the operation clean. This constant need to purify can also waste precious time.

Taking digital notes with transcription enables doctors to document their work without shifting their focus. Their instructions to nurses also get documented automatically. Similarly, they can narrate their own actions out loud as they go so they can fully analyze the steps or effectiveness of procedures after the fact.

Doctor Engagement

Many doctors enlist in the complex medical field for the satisfaction of helping patients and changing their lives for the better. Empowering them with technology that shifts the focus back to their core passion can also impact patient outcomes. According to Harvard Business Review, happier employees are more creative and engaged in their work. In healthcare, this commitment can translate into more lives saved.

Ensuring Digital Medical Transcription Safety

Medical transcription involves managing intimate, sensitive and confidential information. Securing patient information is of the utmost importance. Organizations must verify their digital transcription providers are leveraging advanced cybersecurity solutions that protect this information.

Accurate transcription is also critical for patient safety. There are many medical terms that a computer might detect as sounding similar, but which have different meanings and therefore diagnoses. It’s crucial that one’s chosen technology provider guarantees a high level of accuracy when transcribing patient files and medical history records to prevent misdiagnosis. Accurate documentation can also be critical for investigations, such as in malpractice lawsuits.

Advanced technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, allow providers’ products to increase their performance the more they are used. For example, automatic sound recognition (ASR) can be used to automatically differentiate between voices, even when they sound similar, and the machine gets better at detecting these voices the more times it is used.

Human touch still matters, of course, with regard to both treatment in the medical industry and technology as a whole. This belief presents a key reason why companies like Verbit invest in human intelligence as well, providing professionals to review transcriptions and make corrections when needed. This human factor also helps to further train the software and improve accuracy.

When implemented by the right provider, this mixture of artificial and human intelligence can empower the medical community to both work more efficiently and create unparalleled opportunities for engagement between doctors and their patients.

Digital transcription is positively reinventing the medical industry as we know it, and this is just the start.