Living and working patterns have been evolving over the ages along with changes in technology; which has finally resulted in today’s men and women leading much more fulfilling lives. This has been possible because technology has had a positive effect on efficiency at the workplace, and it is no secret that that an intelligent human is a happier one too, being able to prioritize his tasks and be there in time for his family too.
Like in other industries, the healthcare segment has been dramatically and positively affected by the intervention of technology, and the advancements in medicine and healthcare management systems have almost triumphed over the stigmata of various diseases; and it can safely be assumed that in the not too distant future, the science of medicine along with the social science of healthcare administration would have made possible a disease-free world.
Other para-medical branches of medicine such as medical transcription have been witness to this paradigm shift too. Medical transcription is not what it used to be, say a couple of decades ago. From steno’s typing out rapidly the physician’s dictation real-time to physicians recording their dictations via antediluvian cassette recorders, to finally their usage of elegant recording devices and storing the same in floppy disks and computers and then a database, medical transcription has absorbed every change thrown its way by technological advancement, and the workforce, both localized and global have adopted to these changes exceeding well.
The challenges faced by today transcriptionists are manifold. The very nature of the job takes a heavy toll on the body. He or She is expected to don the headset and listen intently, while at the same time keying the transcription in a word document. Thus a MT is required to bring into all play almost all the senses, while at the same applying higher cognition to decipher the dictator’s wording. After this is done, they act as a copy editor/proofer for the same document, fine-tuning it and removing any errors or inconsistencies so that the end result is an accurate medical report for continuous patient care. It would then be very erroneous for MT to be clubbed as a back-office process, whereas in fact it is something which cannot be as easily automated (at the transcription level) unlike other back-office process, and thus should be rightfully considered a knowledge process, and a proper para-medical science.
Today’s transcriptionists, besides enduring the above rigorous daily physical and mental routine, are expected to constantly acquire and reacquire the skills necessary for operating the platforms (EMR’s) on which they carry out their transcription. With EMR’s today coming in more flavours than all the cuisines of the world combined together, today’s transcribers are additionally required to be tech savvy besides being medical-lingo savvy. Add to this the quick turnaround time and stat reports required by some radiologists at any time of the day, it is even expected of the medical transcriptionist that he make himself available at all times, night or day on a short notice.
It is no wonder that statistics every year always point to a decrease in the percentage of available transcriptionists in the American Mainland, and also the remuneration required to engage the remaining ones is becoming more and more unviable to the healthcare administrators. It is here that a truly globalized workforce has come to their rescue, in the form of their being able to utilize talent pools in far-off destinations such as India, which in fact has the highest number of postgraduates in the world, and whose culture inculcates the values of hard work, sincerity, meticulousness, and patience right from a very young age.