Clinical Transcription vs. AI: How DeepScribe Can Save the Private Practice

Today, for the first time in recent history, the majority of American clinicians are choosing to work at larger care organizations or hospitals instead of private practices. While the shift can in part be attributed to a widening compensation gap and an overall decreasing appeal in small business ownership, clinicians across the country cite administrative demands as the primary factor dissuading them from opening a private practice or continuing to work in one.

In the past, clinicians offloaded their medical documentation to third party entities like clinical transcriptionists and medical scribes, which allowed them to focus on patient care and other administrative tasks associated with business ownership. But regulatory changes in the last 12 years have driven the documentation load to new heights, putting practitioners under heightened scrutiny and engaged patient care on the back burner. While all providers undoubtedly feel the negative impact of the administrative onslaught to some degree, in general, private practitioners are shouldering more of that burden than hospitalists due to the nature of private practices and owning a small business.

Downsides to Clinical Transcription Services

In the immediate wake of HITECH, the job outlook for clinical transcriptionists was promising. In recent years, though, documentation demands have outgrown the reasonable capabilities of transcriptionists, and as such, available transcriptionist jobs have taken a hit. Now, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 7-10 percent decline in transcriptionist jobs over the next ten years.

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For private practice clinicians, transcriptionists can have a few significant downsides.  First, there are concerns with training standards and note efficacy. Because medical transcription as an industry has no governing body, training practices for third party companies are difficult to vet and enforce. Additionally, there are concerns with line-cutting (paying a premium for faster note turnaround times) and the cognitive load associated with recalling information gathered during a patient visit and dictating that information for transcription. But overall, providers are shying away from transcription because of cost concerns and a lack of impactful time-savings.

Unlike hospitalists, who may work for an organization that has a preexisting partnership with a clinical transcription company, private practice providers pay for transcription services out of their own pocket. Any money shuttled towards a documentation solution is money taken directly from their own earnings. As a result, clinical transcription solutions are under heightened scrutiny at private practices. Even with a contracted transcriptionist, providers still must document their patient encounters in real time, then dictate the important findings after the patient leaves or after hours, only to wait up to 48 hours for the final notes to be returned. It's an inefficient process that puts providers at risk of malpractice due to PHI leaks, hurts their bottom line, and ultimately doesn't save them meaningful time. This all plays a part in why transcription jobs are declining, why providers are burned out, and why private practice ownership in the United States is declining.

Downsides to Medical Scribe Solutions

Similar to transcription services, the medical scribe industry saw tremendous growth in the immediate aftermath of HITECH and Meaningful Use, but in recent years, have fallen from grace — specifically amongst providers at private practices.

First, training, scheduling, and supervising medical scribes consume significant resources, even more so at private practices where staffing is often thinner and employees wear more hats. In short, resources taken away from the primary goal of providing care and making money are not always welcomed at private practices, and for good reason.

Recommended Reading: In-Person Medical Scribes: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Second, and perhaps the most impactful, is the high turnover rate among medical scribes. Historically, scribing is the most common way for aspiring medical students to gain industry experience and complete the clinical hours needed for medical school acceptance, but is almost never a long-term career goal. Most medical scribes stay on the job for just six months before moving on to medical school or other clinical roles, which creates an ever-revolving door of new hires that private practitioners must onboard and train. Not only is this a massive time-sink, but quality of documentation, and thus care, is capped at whatever a scribe can learn and accomplish just six months in.

Similar to transcription services, there is also a lack of standardization in the medical scribe industry. This means that even if a private practice uses a medical scribe agency to help them place scribes, training practices and supervisory methods can vary significantly from one company to the next. In addition, cost concerns, true time-savings, functional creep (link), and malpractice risk all play a role in why many clinicians are shying away from what was the most common medical documentation solution in healthcare (link).

How can we save the clinician and the private practice?

A number of "new" documentation solutions have arisen in recent years with the mission to help clinicians with their documentation so that they can focus on care, but most solutions on the market simply refashion old solutions into a shinier version. For example, some of the speech recognition tools that are advertised as AI assistants or "ambient" voice technologies are simply just robust dictation & transcription tools. While they do indeed use more advanced technology to help clinicians document, in most cases they aren't truly offloading the administrative load in the way they promise. Most often, some level of real-time dictation or post-visit dictation is required for these tools to work — in a sense, they are simply more robust dictation devices or advanced transcription tools.

The problem is providers today are facing a crippling administrative burden that is getting worse year after year after year after year. The medical documentation load is threatening our clinicians, threatening private practices, and threatening the very nature of our healthcare system. It's a threat that requires stepping back and reimagining the solution, not just applying new tech to the same, tired solutions of yesterday.

What providers need: DeepScribe

Providers need a documentation solution that is designed from the inside-out, and built to address their true needs. Today, DeepScribe's AI-powered medical scribe is the only documentation solution

1) Clinic-First. A documentation solution should be designed to help clinicians do their jobs more efficiently and effectively, not just substitute some documentation work (typing) for other documentation work (dictating, training, etc.). This means the solution must be flexible enough to adapt to each clinician's unique workflow, and intelligent enough to automate time-consuming tasks.

DeepScribe is clinic-first because our AI technology automates medical notes and integrates them directly into your electronic health record system — meaning that you can speak to your patient naturally, without dictating, and once your visit is complete, DeepScribe is already working to complete your notes and upload them into your EHR. DeepScribe is highly efficient and effective, and the nature of our machine learning algorithms and quality assurance teams mean that our AI-scribe will only continue to get better over time.

2) Cost Effective. An effective documentation solution must be affordable for private practice providers.

DeepScribe is 1/6 the cost of a medical transcriptionist or medical scribe, and 1/2 the cost of other competitive documentation technology.

3) Safe and Secure. Providers need a tool that is not going to put them at risk for PHI leaks, security risks, or malpractice risks.

DeepScribe is 100% HIPAA compliant and all sensitive patient data is encrypted at all times throughout the documentation process including while it is in transit and while it is at rest.

4) Time-Savings. Providers deserve a solution that actually saves them time on their documentation every day, not one that simply substitutes time spent typing for time spent dictating for transcription or training scribes.

DeepScribe automates your medical documentation. On average, DeepScribe users make less than one edit per note, and some save as much as three hours per day on their documentation.

5) Maximize Revenue. A true documentation solution should allow clinicians to be more efficient and maximize their revenue and reimbursement.

DeepScribe's ICD-10 compliant insurance coding allows for more seamless billing processes — meaning that you can maximize your reimbursement all while spending less time on your documentation.

Interested in learning more about the all-encompassing documentation solution you deserve? Watch a video or reach out to one of our reps for a live demo today!

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