How will speech recognition technology impact the medical transcription industry in the future?
Speech recognition technology has been threatening to eliminate the need for traditional medical transcription for quite some time. However, the reality of the situation is that, while voice recognition technology certainly has grown in importance in the healthcare industry, it is no where near being capable of replacing a traditional medical transcriptionist. Home medical transcription jobs are as plentiful as ever and the future of medical transcription is extremely bright.
But the one thing that has happened as a consequence of speech recognition technology development is that the role of some medical transcriptionists has been transformed to a fairly large degree. By and large, most medical transcriptionists still transcribe the old fashioned way: they listen to a dictation file and type a more or less verbatim report. As speech recognition catches on, the starting point for a home medical transcriptionist is increasingly a rough draft of a document that has been produced by speech recognition software. Typically, speech recognition software will be capable of producing an output that is maybe 60% to 80% correct. The problem of course, is that only a trained medical transcriptionist can tell you where the errors lie in the draft medical report generated by software. It is critical to have each rough document reviewed and edited by a highly skilled medical transcriptionist. The integrity of our healthcare system relies on correct information being provided to physicians who are dealing with patients and making decisions on their behalf. An inaccurate medical records file can spell disaster for a patient and cause extreme frustration to the healthcare delivery system.
In time, more and more of the voice dictation files produced by physicians will be processed through voice recognition software. This will force the current pool of medical transcriptionists to retool their skill sets. Instead of listening and transcribing verbatim, the medical transcriptionist of the future will be listening and editing a document that comes up on her screen in an edit mode.
Sophisticated medical transcription software is certainly bringing efficiency to the industry, but the need for quality home medical transcriptionists and medical record editors will live on and continue to grow well into the future. In fact there has never been a more opportune time to enter this exciting career field!
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