A common question in the industry these days is, “Will an EMR system replace Transcription”? The answer is no. It will reduce the number of dictated reports, but it will never replace it completely. Most providers now accept the EMR system and use the tools from within it for documentation. But there are a handful of providers who, despite starting out using the EMR system, have went back to using a transcription service for their dictated reports.
Many providers that choose to use the transcription method do so because charting in the EMR is seen as too time consuming, the EMR templates are not user friendly, or the type of normal visit versus a complicated visit is too hard to capture in a template. Lastly some prefer transcription because they’re able to keep the face to face interaction with the patient and not worry about the computer.
With this in mind, many institutions have an inbound transcription interface setup where the transcription report will leave the transcription service and file into the EMR InBasket. From there, a pool of secretaries who monitor the EMR InBasket for that department, will make any edits to these reports, cleaning it up before forwarding it on to the provider via the InBasket. Once signed off by the provider, the report will file into that visit encounter for that particular patient.
Another question that has been asked frequently is “Could we replace the transcription with voice recognition software”? Maybe, if the license cost per user is low for the VR software, the infrastructure is able to handle large amounts of voice data across the network, and that the equipment used by the end user is of high quality. Voice recognition software has come a very long way. There are many VR programs out there which have a medical dictionary database, providing easy grammar and spell check. However, the downside of VR is if the physician can’t get to a certain rate of accuracy, it’s not worth letting him use the VR system. The time he or she would spend editing garbage would be better spent using the EMR templates or transcription.
To summarize, neither transcription or traditional EMR documentation is going anywhere any time soon. We look forward to continuing to see advances in voice recognition software and how EMRs adapt to this growing contender in EHR documentation.