Best medical transcription services of 2019

Doctor working on laptop
Image Credit: Pixabay
Best medical transcription services

Making patient notes is a routine part of any clinical practice, but dictating these into patient records can be more challenging. While some EHR (Electronic Health Records) and EMR (Electronic Medical Records) software can offer machine-led speech recognition options, these may not be as accurate as transcription by a person. 

Having a member of the medical staff to transcribe is one option, but their services are undoubtedly more valuable when used elsewhere. Hiring someone specifically for this task can prove expensive and, ultimately, inefficient. While there are a number of commercial transcription services available, most general-use ones may struggle with the complexity of medical terminology. Additionally, because of the sensitive nature of medical records, any information needs to be handled securely at all times.

However, there are a number of companies which provide dedicated medical transcription services. Usually these offer either a direct phone number, smartphone app, or an audio upload feature, for your dictation to be submitted through. A human user - usually registered as a Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) or Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) - will then work on the transcription, then send it back via a HIPSAA-compliant internet connection. The resulting transcription can then be uploaded to your EHR or EMR, completing the patient's records.

Outsourced medical transcription services therefore offer benefits in terms of working efficiency, and also cost. While transcribers usually charge per line or text character, this usually works out much cheaper than hiring a dedicated person to do this, especially in smaller clinical practices where there may not be enough work to justify the costs of an employee. Additionally, most every provider will aim to provide delivery within 24 hours, though some have options for a faster workaround.

Below we'll list the best in medical transcription services for you to choose from, to help keep your practice running smoothly.

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Image Credit: Acusis

(Image: © Image Credit: Acusis)

1. Acusis

The big company scribe provider

Multiple upload methods
Manage your dictations
Opaque pricing

Acusis provides multiple options for dictation-capture for use with their medical transcription services. The first is AcuVoice, which is a cloud-based system by which you can dial in to a toll-free number and use a PIN to record your dictation. You can then use a web interface to then access, replay, edit, and otherwise manage your recorded dictations. The second option is AcuVoice, which is an app for iOS devices, which allows you to record dictations directly through an iPhone or iPad.

Alternatively, Acusis can provide an option to integrate with your existing EHR using AcuSuite, which is also a cloud-based system which can record audio from a number of sources available in most clinical facilities. Additionally, AcuSuite can also provide document processing and management, electronic signature, print, fax, and email services. 

Whichever method is used, Acusis have two levels of quality control, the first being online editing followed by a separate offline editing process to remove any errors.

Although Acusis don't provide any pricing information on their website, do note that the company is targeted to serving medium-to-large providers and may require a contract.

Image Credit: SmartMD

(Image: © Image Credit: SmartMD)

2. SmartMD

Smart transcription for the MD

Free trial
No contracts
Patient tracking
Clear pricing

SmartMD is a modern transcription service that is available as a standalone service or as part of a wider suite of medical services. Dictation can be done over the phone through a toll-free number, or through a smartphone app for iOS devices, or have recordings uploaded directly. Additionally, with EHR integration everything can be directly delivered into your patient's records.

SmartMD adds a number of additional value propositions to its service, not least guaranteed delivery by 9am the next day, and they can provide receipts by email or fax as required. There's also a feature to track a list of patients that need to be dictated for, and status reports. They also provide a range of other services such as managed billing, referrals, and documentation.

Another positive is that SmartMD makes their pricing structure very clear, with plans starting from 7.9c per line. There are multiple plans, offering ever increasing features and storage plans, for only nominal price increases. Additionally, there is no contract or minimum use to lock clients in, and there's a free trial available.

SmartMD also offers phone support seven days a week, and while most people would hope not to use it, by all accounts it's very well run and delivers what clients need when they need it.

Overall, SmartMD offers a wide range of features with a clear pricing structure, and the company does a good job to support clients.

Image Credit: EHR Transcriptions

(Image: © Image Credit: EHR Transcriptions)

3. EHR Transcriptions

Specialist dictation services

Specialist team
Triple checks
EHR records updated
High security connection

EHR Transcriptions is a service provided by SameDay, which specializes in different transcription services. It's EHR Transcription service is aimed at hospitals and large clinical providers which have a dedicated technology manager, and allows doctors to make their dictations and have their EHR records updated automatically.

The main ways to provide dictation are via a free telephone account, digital voice recorder, computer microphone, or iPhone app. The recording is sent through a highly secure 528-bit encrypted VPN connection, and the transcription is assigned to staff by specialty to improve accuracy. The transcriptionists all work from the same office, so it's always the same people working on your reports rather than outsourced, and support is available seven days a week, with extended hours.

Work is triple checked with a manual reviews, followed through by an automated spelling/grammar check, before being human-proofed again. The whole process is intended to take less than 24 hours, and doctors can view, edit, sign, fax, print or download the finished document from the system with a single click.

There are no set up fees and no long-term contract, but you will still need to ask the company for a quote to price the service you need.

Image Credit: DataMatrix Medical

(Image: © Image Credit: DataMatrix Medical)

4. DataMatrix Medical

Transcribe into the data matrix

Android + iOS apps
Suite of services
Voice recognition

DataMatrix Medical use qualified transcriptionists and virtual scribes to provide transcription services and update EHR records. Although it advertises a general workaround of 24 hours, it also promotes a turnaround time of as little as 2 hours if required.

They also offer additional services to help increase the administrative efficiency of your practice, not least document scanning and general paperwork management that works directly with your EHR system. DataMatrix Medical also provides other integrated services, such as authorization and referral management, coding, and billing solutions.

Even if you just want to focus on medical transcription, DataMatrix covers this by allowing dictation audio to be sent via a smartphone app (iOS and Android available) or by an uploaded digital recording, which is manually transcribed and proof-read and finished within 24 hours. However, for doctors already using voice recognition software built into their EHR solution, DataMatrix Medical also offer to clean up and correct notes directly in your EHR.

There's no upfront pricing provided, but DataMatrix Medical advertise a free trial and no long-term contract.

Image Credit: The Dictation Source

(Image: © Image Credit: The Dictation Source)

5. The Dictation Source

A source of scribes

Android + iOS
Live scribes
Expanded services

The Dictation Source offers a number of service options for clinics beyond just transcription, including speech recognition, coding, and virtual scribes to cover patient visits.

The transcription service offers recording and uploading via a toll-free 800 number, plus apps for both iOS and Android devices, as well as digital manual uploads. The service aims to increase efficiency by offering unlimited macros & templates for every medical specialty, and EHR/EMR entry can be done manually or through a HL7 interface.

There are features for real-time reporting, plus online editing, printing and electronic signing available, as well as secured email and fax options. 

They do also offer an expanded range of services to help with document management, not least virtual scribes to provide real-time transcription and update EHR during a patient's visit. There's also an option to provide coding and document management services as well.

Although no fee structure is advertised, The Dictation Source doesn't charge start-up or minimum fees. There is also an option to use automated speech recognition services for a lower cost.