In the past, medical documentation involved lots of paper work and was time consuming. Such documents were sometimes handwritten or typed on paper and gradually started occupying space in healthcare institutes, hospitals and clinics. Apart from being space consuming, retrieving any particular patient record from piles of record files posed as a bigger issue. Documentation and maintenance of patient records was not only a burden on hospitals but also on physicians and other healthcare staff which thereby created demand for a medical documentation process which involved less manpower, space and processing time.
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Medical transcription process involves transcribing the patient information dictated by physician into text format. Physicians record patient information using audio recorders and send such recordings to medical transcriptionist for further process. This process has not only reduced writing work and efforts of physicians across the globe but has also helped in reducing space required for the saving of such documents. Apart from efficiently recording patient records medical transcription services also turn out to be instrumental in reducing the risk of legal disputes and insurance reimbursement issues.
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Many medical transcription service providers are offering both transcription services and transcription software. Audio recorders are being rapidly replaced with speech recognition software that allows automatic conversion of audio into text format. Medical transcription service providers offer services mainly to transcribe History and Physical reports (H&P), Discharge Summary (DS), Operative Notes (OP), Consultation reports (CONSULT) and other reports. Medical transcription services can be offshored or outsourced. Many developed countries prefer offshoring medical transcription jobs to the companies situated in developing countries such as India, China and Philippines. Medical transcription demands high end accuracy and hence requires skilled manpower. Developing in-house manpower capable of transcribing medical information with accuracy along with developing and maintaining infrastructure necessary for providing medical transcription services is a costly affair. Hence many healthcare professionals outsource their transcription jobs to save both time and monetary resources. Healthcare institutes prefer offshoring medical transcription activities over outsourcing as it is more beneficial for labor as well as healthcare institutes to avail the transcription services in exchange of dollars (currency rate benefits).
Medical transcription has extended definitions of healthcare services by enabling physicians and specialty physicians to treat patients across the globe, refer documents in history for special cases and guide for physicians in case of transfer of patient from one physician to another for better treatment. Developing countries in Europe are investing more on building medical transcription service organizations (MTSOs). Countries in Asia-Pacific are focusing more on medical transcription service industry rather than on availing medical transcription services. Governments in India, Philippines and China are providing subsidies, incentives, cost benefits in internet services and tax benefits for developing infrastructure required for set up of medical transcription company, developing skilled manpower and improving technology.
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Geographically, North America dominates the global medical transcription services market due to increased medical documentation in the U.S. Contribution of the U.S. in availing medical transcription services is going to increase further as effects of passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Furthermore, most of the healthcare professionals availing medical transcription services are domiciled in the U.S. thus giving more scope to in-shore outsourcing. Many major MTSOs are coming up with cost effective products in the market that is driving cost reduction in this market. Growing awareness of medical documentation and its implementation by many healthcare professionals, hospitals, clinics and healthcare institutes is driving growth of medical transcription market.
Moreover, factors such as increased awareness about the benefits of electronic patient recordkeeping, government initiatives, increased geriatric population worldwide; reimbursement processing and availability of various software leading to competitive cost reductions are driving growth of medical transcription services market. Use of novel recording system, which combines different type of automatic audio recorders and speech recognition technology, is a rapidly progressing trend. Medical transcription services is a promising and a fast growing segment in the field of next generation patient documentation and healthcare database and is changing the perception and look of healthcare industry.
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