The Impact of Technology on the Transcription Industry

The Impact of Technology on the Transcription IndustryTechnology is always evolving, and has become so ingrained in our lives that we never stop and really notice how much easier life has become with it around. Technology has taken mundane and time-consuming chores that are required in everyday living and business and reduced them to simple tasks that a machine can easily handle.

However, the transcription industry is a large market and many medical professionals rely on human transcriptionists to convert their audio files to text. There’s been a lot of scrutiny over technical systems that have been developed to handle transcription work. Systems like speech recognition and Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are being used, but are not completely flawless and still require a human to check through the results and compare them with the audio file. In fact, there are still a large percentage of lawyers and hospitals that outsource all their transcription tasks to a company that employs human transcribers.

Speech recognition has a large potential to really overtake any human transcriber, but the advances aren’t quite there yet. The technology has gotten so advanced that they can record every word a doctor speaks with ease, but there are still a lot of grammar and punctuation problems. Since the English language is so complex, the software has yet to get the proper commas, periods, and question marks down on record, and punctuation can really make all the difference in the tone of a dictation.

Most modern-day speech recognition software uses a statistical language model, which can be incredibility troublesome because it needs to access a huge database. Since the machine needs to refer to this database constantly, and as more and more language possibilities become available to it, this takes up a lot of processing time and can dramatically affect production levels and accuracy.

There will still be a need for a medical transcriber even if speech recognition is used in the majority of hospitals, at least for another decade. They will still need to listen to the audio and cross-check it with the machine’s punctuation and accuracy. We’re still not really sure if a lengthy editing session for machine-induced grammatical errors would be an advancement over just using a human transcriber in the first place.

The EMR system has increasingly been adopted throughout the US. In 2008, it was reported that 38.4{24dd5b97eb604df08618aafdc739153a2ef83e0a069346e40607192e69f3aad3} of office-based physicians were already using the system. Many doctors are taking to this method because it reduces paper usage and filing cabinet space. Hard disk space is very inexpensive nowadays and does not require any office space, so many personal doctors and hospitals are really cutting costs by going digital.

However, the main problem with this system, and probably the main reason why hospitals have not fully adopted it, is that there is no standardization for it. Many hospitals are also aware of patient security and the risks of having all their data on a digital system. Anything that is digital can be hacked and hospitals could be sued over leaked patient data, and many of them understandably do not want to take that risk.