What is it and why do I care anyway? Speech Recognition Editing the activity in which a Medical Language Specialist (MLS) reviews and corrects medical documents that have been dictated then converted by automatic speech recognition software to text. The medical transcription industry needs MTs with this particular knowledge to work with speech recognition. If there are not enough people trained to do Speech Recognition Editing, the industry is going to end up letting it go without an editor. This is going create a lot of mistakes in the transcribed medical reports, something that the medical profession cannot have. Most doctors require no less than 98% accuracy from their MTs which is another reason the industry needs qualified Speech Recognition Editors.
Speech recognition is a great addition to your resume and is a skill that will help you remain competitive and stay employed in spite of economic changes and technological advances in healthcare documentation.
In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or the HIPAA was endorsed by the U.S. Congress. The HIPAA Privacy Rule, also called the Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information, provided the first nationally-recognizable regulations for the use/disclosure of an individual's health information. Essentially, the Privacy Rule defines how covered entities use individually-identifiable health information or the PHI (Personal Health Information). 'Covered entities' is a term often used in HIPAA-compliant guidelines. This definition of a covered entity is specified by [45 CFR § 160.102] of the Privacy Rule. A covered entity can be a:
Overview of the Privacy Rule
Gives patients control over the use of their health information
Defines boundaries for the use/disclosure of health records by covered entities
Establishes national-level standards that healthcare providers must comply with
Helps to limit the use of PHI and minimizes chances of its inappropriate disclosure
Strictly investigates compliance-related issues and holds violators accountable with civil or criminal penalties for violating the privacy of an individual's PHI
Supports the cause of disclosing PHI without individual consent for individual healthcare needs, public benefit and national interests.
Overview of the Privacy Rule
HIPAA realizes that there is a critical need to balance the steps taken for the protection of an individual's health information along with provision of proper healthcare faculties. The Privacy Rule strives hard to regulate the sharing of PHI without making it a deterrent for accessing healthcare facilities. Thus, the Privacy Rule does permit disclosures, under special circumstances, wherein individual authorization is not needed by public healthcare authorities.
Upon visiting this year’s American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah I am bewildered at the path our country is taking in the name of “improving” healthcare. Do we really want/need our physicians entering data in a computer? Is this what we believe “quality” healthcare is?
If so, let me get this straight…what we are saying is after four years of undergraduate schooling and four years of medical school, with three to eight years of internships and residency (depending on the area of specialty); so in total, after spending between 11 and 16 years of training, what we want our highly trained (and highly compensated) physicians doing is spending 40 to 60% of their time entering data in a computer.
Are we nuts?
Where is the American Medical Association? Where are the physicians themselves? Where is the leadership of our healthcare system? Don’t they understand that paying physicians hundreds of thousands of dollars to be data entry clerks is not sustainable?
I am astonished, with the number of smart people we have in this country, that this has gotten this far.
What is even more astonishing is the business case some technology companies are using (and some healthcare leaders are buying) that says, “you can justify spending millions of dollars on their technology by transferring the data entry responsibility from today’s medical language specialists, medical billers, medical coders, medical scribes and other allied health professionals and place this responsibility on the shoulders of the physicians, nurses and other care providers.”
This makes all the sense in the world…let’s get a physician earning $150 per hour to do the job that one of these other allied health professionals can do for $20 – $40 per hour – all the while there is a well known shortage of doctors and nurses and our population is aging and requiring more and more services.
Someone please help me understand how this is improving the efficiency of our healthcare system? Even at a 7.5:1 ratio ($150/$20) asking a physician to spend as little as 36 minutes per day entering data is a money losing and thereby inefficient proposition.
Like most other highly trained and highly compensated individuals, physicians should have access to quality data/information to assist them in delivering their services – we should not require them to be entering the data. In fact, we should be mandating that they don’t!
This would be the same as asking the CEO of Macy’s or Walmart to spend 40-60% of his or her time behind the cash register or asking the CEO of Exxon/Mobil to spend 40-60% of his or her time pumping gas or asking Tom Brady to work the concession stand at half-time of the game. Ridiculous!!