Negotiating the New Medical Landscape

The days of the house call are long gone. We can no longer pick up the phone if your child has a fever, call your pediatrician, and expect a knock on the door within minutes.

Until fairly recently, medicine was more art than science. There was a lot of superstition attached to the cause of disease, and treatment ran the gamut from chanting to bleeding.

Surgery, such as it was, was extremely barbaric, with the poor victim being held down while the “surgeon” hacked off his leg. The advent of ether meant that surgery could now be performed more easily, with much less stress to the patient and the doctor.

Since the days of Hippocrates, medicine has undergone tremendous changes: from bleeding and leeches, to robotic surgery and even telemedicine. Each such change in medical understanding and delivery has also required vast changes in the way medical professionals practice their craft.

The New Professionals

They include doctors, doctors’ assistants, nurse practitioners and attendant personnel. Each has his or her particular functions in the care of a patient. Sometimes those functions can overlap, or even be substituted by one or another of the medical professionals.

Role of Medical Transcription

There is one function that unites all medical professionals to a certain extend. Medical transcription has been the law of the land in the past 40 years or so. Medical transcription refers to rendering recorded transcripts into a written report, primarily to satisfy various insurance requirements and other information.

Transcription is a skill that requires quite a bit of concerted study and practice. The medical professional typically dictates his or her report of an exam or procedure into a device that records the words. It is the task of the medical transcriptionist to transcribe those words.

The skill is in deciphering medical jargon that is replete with long compound Latin words, or French surgical instruments, or other foreign-sounding maneuvers and tests. Indeed, the entire medical lexicon might be considered a foreign language! Add to that the increasingly global medical delivery system, and we find that the dictators themselves often have heavy accents, which only compounds the problem of understanding what is being said and transcribing correctly.

The Critical Nature of Transcription

The precise transcription of recorded medical reports is of utmost importance. Here is where mistakes can lead to dire consequences. The difference between hypertension and hypotension is critical, yet, when a medical professional dictates, he or she rarely stops to clarify those distinctions.

Moreover, the dictator frequently speaks quite rapidly, so a medical transcriptionist who is not experienced may not recognize where one word begins and another stops! Imagine hearing “patientwassenttoicuforlymphoproliferativedisorder.” There is something to be said for proper enunciation, but that sadly is sometimes lacking.

Talent and Skill

The talent of the medical transcriptionist lies in her being skilled enough to know the jargon; experienced enough to know medication names, generics, and usual dosages; and certainly astute enough to have plenty of reference materials that she refers to on a regular basis.

Current Legalities

Critical in today’s medical landscape is adherence to current law, such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). This is the law that has been created to ensure patients’ privacy, and the medical professionals, lawyers, insurance companies, and transcriptionists must comply with multiple regulations, or face stiff fines.

Again, here is where the skilled and experienced transcriptionist stands out. They are charged with transcribing precisely what the medical professional dictates, asking appropriate questions where needed, and producing a quality product that adheres to all the formatting and turnaround requirements of the medical professional. It is a demanding job, but one which is essential in today’s medical milieu.

Today’s medical landscape is replete with technological innovations, new rules and regulations, and congressional edicts. Correct patient information is a critical component that underpins all these efforts, and requires the very best in a medical transcription company that covers all the bases.