Transcriptionists look to remake themselves

By Healthcare IT News
12:00 AM

With concerns growing about transcriptionists' role in keeping patient information secure, the American Association of Medical Transcription is launching an initiative to protect confidentiality and set other quality benchmarks.

The professional organization, which has its 26th annual exposition and convention in Atlanta this week, is attempting to respond to concerns that arose last year over highly publicized incidents involving foreign transcriptionists, said Peter Preziosi, the organization's executive director. In one of those incidents, a Pakistani transcriptionist threatened to release patient information because she wanted to be paid.

"That just started a cascade effect for a lot of different issues," Preziosi said. "Our members were really trying to transform their practices to ensure they met HIPAA regulations."

Quality is a growing concern as the transcription industry tries to move from an emphasis on reducing the cost of transcription services.

"What got lost in the shuffle was quality," Preziosi said. "Now, we're looking at greater quality assurance benchmarks and setting some standards for measuring quality so it's not subjective."

The new initiatives come as the healthcare industry is beginning to implement electronic health records on a broader basis.

"We're looking at how to begin to reposition and create new value for transcriptionists in an electronic environment," Preziosi said. "Transcriptionists are finding themselves in the middle of data capture and they need to begin to look at their practice. We will step up a lot of the education and training to get prepared for this."

Also on tap for the organization is the need to look at mandatory credentialing for transcription professionals and the need to fully disclose billing methods and location of services.

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