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The Cost of Medical Transcription Services

The Cost of Medical Transcription Services
When we think about “costs” we usually immediately think of money – how much we are willing to spend to accomplish a certain task. But in almost every scenario, that monetary cost is always linked to time, the two are not mutually exclusive. When it comes to the cost of medical transcription services, we can’t think of just dollar signs. We have to simultaneously consider both of our two most precious finite resources: Money and Time. 

When we think about “costs” we usually immediately think of money – how much we are willing to spend to accomplish a certain task. But in almost every scenario, that monetary cost is always linked to time, the two are not mutually exclusive. When it comes to the cost of medical transcription services, we can’t think of just dollar signs. We have to simultaneously consider both of our two most precious finite resources: Money and Time

Let’s start with the familiar Money-Costs.

Outsourcing medical transcription to a third party company can be pricey. On the very lowest end of the spectrum, we pay our transcriptionists minimum wage, which depending on where you live is around $10-15. It’s a valuable service that eases our workload, but often that money is coming out of our own pockets. Those of us that choose to hire third party medical transcriptionists are essentially agreeing that the freedom of not having to do that work ourselves is worth, at the absolute minimum, $20,000 per year. 


Why? Time-Costs. The other ultra finite resource we have.

Without a medical transcriptionist, we must scribe all of our own medical records and notes, and then edit and upload them manually to our EHR’s. Studies show that these exact tasks are responsible for more than 50% of physician burnout across the entire medical field. Half. If it’s enough time to employ a third party transcriptionist full time, it seems fair to say that assuming that role in addition to our regular workday might just be too much. 

So, it makes sense that we’d be willing to pay $20k a year (or more, in almost all cases) to gain our freedom back. But even that comes at a cost of its own.


Time. Again.

Medical transcription services operate at a baseline level of acceptable quality. Yet, the timeliness in which notes are produced isn’t guaranteed, and they are limited by natural human ability. The average turnaround time industry-wide for one session is 48 hours, which isn’t always a viable window when dealing with human patients, charts, insurance claims, etc. So, in the interest of our rightfully cherished Time, we pay extra to get that work expedited. 

But if we’re paying for a rushed product, we often get rushed quality. At that point, our investment is called into question, and it becomes easier to justify just writing the notes ourselves. But then we again find ourselves in the negative feedback loop, swirling hopelessly somewhere between here and there, toeing the edge of burnout. It can all be a bit dizzying.

But, if we know that Artificial Intelligence is ultimately going to weed out many of life’s more mundane tasks as it has shown it can, why not set the parameters of how we want that tech to look now?

The big picture is this: we must know our Costs and we must ensure that emerging AI technology acutely addresses those costs.

It must be able to monitor, decipher, and dictate doctor-patient conversations in real time with extreme accuracy - so much so that it honors the Time it claims it will save us. It must integrate seamlessly into both the exam room and into our existing tech and EHR’s. And it must be Money-Cost forward, provided at a rate far less than $20k per year.


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The Cost of Medical Transcription Services

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