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Home > Transcription Facts > Outsourcing vs. In-house Medical Transcription

Outsourcing vs. In-house Medical Transcription

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Adam Smith, the renowned economist, in his ‘The Wealth of Nations’ says, of self-sufficiency vs. outsourcing, “Rather than having each household produce most of its own food and supplies, specializing and exchanging with other individuals would give access to more and better produce. Likewise, international free trade would enable each nation to specialize in what its citizens could produce relatively better and more cheaply.”

Effectively, outsourcing is the modern day progression of an idea that has always existed in trade, but has found new application with the advancement and adoption of new technologies.

Applied to the area of medical services, as healthcare organizations and providers grow in size and operations, it becomes imperative that their focus be directed to their core activities (patient care) while non-core functions (like transcription and billing) are contracted out or outsourced to organizations which specialize in that particular function. This allows medical providers to do things a lot more efficiently and enables them to do more with less.

With the daily challenges of managing patient information and stringent regulations, managing a full medical transcription staff also puts a strain on the time and resources of a medical organization. Outsourcing medical transcription work in such a scenario is not only immensely beneficial, but also comes with a few other advantages that are not possible with in-house transcription. Listed below are a few of these benefits.

1Lower Capital Investment & Equipment Expenses

When you outsource your medical transcription requirements, you no longer have to own or maintain a dictation system, a typing platform or worry about upgrading your equipment. Your capital expenses on maintenance with the average maintenance agreement can cost upwards of 10% of equipment costs, annually.
Maintaining an in-house transcription team also places certain office equipment and space expenses which are removed by outsourcing.

2Turnaround time guarantees & Volume fluctuations

While the number of documents generated by a healthcare organization averages out across months, on a daily basis document volume can fluctuate heavily because of dictation frequency and patient volume. This not only increases management overhead but also delays transcription more often than not.
With a medical transcription vendor, you are provided with guarantees on turnaround time so that patient documents are never delayed. This removes the need for you to set document priority based on the criticality and urgency of a document and ensures that all documents are available when you need them.

3Reduced management overheads

The amount of time needed to manage medical transcription in-house can be a large overhead when you consider tasks like managing dictations, allocating transcription work, setting document priority and maintaining archives of audio and documents. Outsourcing reduces these overheads effectively improving efficiency in other areas.

4Benefits from economies of scale

Transcription firms usually handle dictations from several hundreds and sometimes thousands of medical professionals on a daily basis. Because of the volumes they handle, transcription of documents is streamlined with the implementation of commercial workflow systems, set workflow practices and quality assurance processes. These practices improve quality while reducing costs. More often than not, these cost benefits are passed on to customers reducing your transcription expense while improving quality.

5Online Documents and Archives

The advent of online medical transcription and associated document management systems, in the last few years has resulted in a number of web based tools that simplify organization and management of documents.
In-house transcription requires a painstaking system of distributing and archiving reports generated on a daily basis. Shifting to an outsourced transcription solution usually comes with a free online document management system that removes a number of these document management overheads.
These free systems provide a simple a number of secure document management features in an easy-to-use interface.
Apart from removing the IT costs associated with owning and maintaining such systems, they result in a number of staff efficiency gains.

6Lower direct labor costs

Hiring transcribers as full time employees adds to your direct labor costs in terms of salaries, payroll benefits and payroll taxes, increasing the total cost of running your organization. Outsourcing removes a large number of these costs.

We have gone over the efficiency and quality benefits that accompany outsourced medical transcription solutions. We also touched on the broad cost benefits associated with medical transcription outsourcing. Let us now break down some of these expenses to get a clearer picture. The actual amounts spent on each of the below expenses vary from organization to organization.

Substitute what you spend on each of the following to get an accurate idea of the monetary benefits.

Expenses towards benefits  
Payroll Taxes  
Workman's Comp. Expense  
Sick/Vacation time Coverage Expense  
Office Space  
Dictation/Transcription Equipment Capital Expense  
Dictation/Transcription Equipment Maintenance Expense  
Employee Training/Retraining Expense  
IT/Technical Support  
Management Expense  
Office Supplies  

If you have done the calculation above, it becomes apparent that if you do your medical transcription within the organization, wages constitute only a percentage of your total cost.

When you outsource your transcription the rest of the overheads mentioned above are managed by the transcription provider who takes advantage of economies of scale.

Other bonuses like web-based document management systems and support for a number of features and options, contribute towards making medical transcription outsourcing an invaluable and essential tool that helps a focused Medical Service Organization devote its time to its core function, that of Patient Care.

We hope you found this article useful. If you have any suggestions or updates to this article, do write to us using the 'Contact Us' section of this website. Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful day!