With Jeremy Hunt MP remaining in post as Health Secretary, the push for the NHS in England to improve its use of technology will be as strong as ever, with the aim to create a paperless service that’s more convenient for patients, and help doctors to provide faster diagnoses.
The Government earlier this year earmarked more than £4bn for areas such as electronic records and online appointments, prescriptions and consultations. Medical transcription is also an essential tool that delivers performance benefits and cost savings for a hard-pressed sector.
Doctors, organisations and patients alike all require the most basic of business needs; quality in a timely manner and if you’re holding the purse strings, at the right cost. This means that patient information is sent quickly and accurately from the sender to the recipient. But when it comes to specifying outsourced transcription services, what should you consider when making your choice?
- Safety and security
Working in a secure environment is paramount. Any option should be able to evidence ISO27001, an accreditation gained by employing high security and risk standards.
- Quality control
The end result must be accurately transcribed documents. You should be able to trial any service you may be considering. In any solution there will be errors, what is the frequency? How are they highlighted? What are the remedial actions? What are the SLAs?
- Turnaround times
Documentation should be returned within 24 hours. This should be outlined and agreed at the outset, preferably contracted and part of any reviews moving forward.
- Workflow considerations
Any service should be simple and easy to use. The idea is they enhance your operation and not complicate it. Look for secure, easy to use platforms that dovetail with your current process.
- Value for money
Outsourcing should provide for significant savings on an in-house model. Be clear on the pricing and make sure you can turn the service on and off.
- Domestic or offshore
You may have restrictions here. Look at what your data restrictions are. Companies should be completely transparent as to where the transcribers are from. Some businesses offer UK only solutions.
- Specialist expertise
The medical industry has an incredibly wide skill set. Therefore, transcribers need the specific experience in given fields. You should be able to reference any particular business if you have particularly niche requirements.
By Helen Healiss, managing director of ISO 27001 accredited, Accuro