Transcription in the Medical Field: The Vital Role of Accurate Documentation in Patient Care and Clinical Research
Accurate documentation is vital in effective patient care and clinical research. However, most interactions between medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, clinical researchers, and their patients, are verbal. These professionals often record their interactions with their patients. The recordings are later converted to text for documentation. This is called medical transcription.
A medical transcript must have close to 100% accuracy to ensure authentic documentation. Failure to transcribe medical or clinical research audio files accurately can lead to severe repercussions, such as legal suits and loss of lives.
Role of Accurate Documentation in Patient Care and Clinical Research
Documentation in patient care refers to the detailed recording of all pertinent information related to individual patients, including physical examination findings, diagnostic test results, treatment plans, response to therapy, and overall medical history. On the other hand, documentation in clinical research refers to recording all the data collected by clinical researchers from their test subjects in clinical research studies.
Accurate medical transcription lays the basis for good patient care and clinical research documentation, ensuring patients receive the proper treatment, improve their health, and advance medical research. Here’s a detailed look at accurate documentation’s vital roles in patient care and clinical research.
- Information Sharing Among Medical Professionals
Healthcare is a very collaborative field. It is common for a patient to see and receive treatment from several medical practitioners. For instance, a general practitioner may refer their patient to a cardiologist, neurologist, or gynecologist for specialized treatment. In such a case, the medical professionals depend on the patient’s documentation to understand the medical history and be in a position to offer their opinion or treatment.
It is, therefore, crucial that the information shared is accurate to avoid the risk of errors that might negatively affect a patient. Also, in clinical research, the researchers have to share their findings with their peers to get their opinions. They may need to involve the regulatory board when they want approval to publish clinical research results. These instances also call for high accuracy levels of the documents.
- Legal and Insurance Settlements
Medical facilities and clinical research institutions must ensure accurate documentation of their medical procedures and rationale for certain treatment decisions. It protects healthcare providers from legal battles and lawsuits. Additionally, precise documentation is vital when settling with insurance companies for the cost of care administered.
Therefore, when preparing their files, medical and clinical research facilities must hire skilled transcriptionists to prepare accurate and law-compliant documentation of recorded medical audio.
- Proper Patient Care and Smooth Continuity of Care
A patient’s documented data determines how medical professionals and caregivers care for them. This includes, for example, when the patient should take their medication and the dosage. Additionally, suppose the patient seeks medical care from a different practitioner. In that case, the professional may have to rely on the documentation presented by the former doctor to assess the patient’s situation. This enhances continuity of care.
- Quality Assurance and Reporting in the Medical Field
Maintaining accurate paper or digital documentation in patient care and clinical research ensures that medical care is ethical and according to the standards. It also creates an environment of evidence-based healthcare, where professionals can identify areas of improvement in the healthcare system. Regulatory authorities and quality assurance bodies can also use accurate patient documentation to assess the performance of medical professionals.
- Complete Patient Medical History
It may be challenging for a doctor to make an informed patient assessment and deliver proper treatment without understanding the patient’s medical history. The availability of an accurate, up-to-date record saves time and money (for retests) and reduces medical errors.
Therefore, medical professionals must keep an accurate record of all the fundamental aspects of their patient’s health, including allergies, pre-existing or genetic conditions, surgical history, and details of all past treatments. Such information can also be vital for clinical researchers looking to onboard certain patients to a trial program as they form a basis for eligibility.
- Tracking a Patient’s Progress
Proper patient care and clinical research documentation allow medical professionals to assess their patient’s progress and establish whether the current treatment plans are working. If the patient’s health is not improving, the medical providers can decide on alternative treatment plans that can bring positive outcomes.
- Essential Requirement for Legal Compliance
The medical field is awash with laws that professionals must abide by. Only by accurately documenting their activities can medical practitioners prove they comply with these laws. For instance, the regulations on clinical research require that the subjects of a clinical trial consent to the program. Therefore, clinical researchers must document the letters of authorization from every participant in a trial.
How to Achieve Accuracy in Medical Transcription
Medical transcription is the audio-to-text conversion of voice records of healthcare practitioners by a medical transcriber. Storing text files is easier and more convenient than audio files. Some standard files that medical transcribers often have to convert into text include surgical reports, autopsy reports, clinical trial and research recordings, and consultation notes.
Transcribing these reports requires very high levels of accuracy because a single mistake can have dire consequences. Below are tips for achieving precision in medical transcription.
- Use Human Transcription Over Software Transcription
Using transcription software might seem cheaper and faster than hiring human transcribers. However, you should never trust AI for medical transcription since it is sensitive and requires accuracy. AI may fail to decipher short forms, medical slang, or accents used by medical professionals. On the other hand, human medical transcribers are trained to understand and accurately identify medical jargon and slang.
- Hire Experienced Professionals With Medical Knowledge
For accurate transcription in the healthcare field, you must hire experienced medical transcribers. Luckily, there are reliable companies that provide online medical transcription done by trained medical transcribers. A professional will notice and correct errors made by a medical officer and ensure that the resulting transcripts meet industry standards and comply with the law.
- Encourage High-Quality Recordings
It is vital that the audio is as clear as possible for transcripts to be accurate. This will also make transcription easier for the transcriber. It is, therefore, vital for medical professionals to record high-quality audio with minimal background noise.
Proper patient care and clinical research documentation are vital for all stakeholders. It ensures patients receive high-quality healthcare, protects medical providers from legal suits, and enhances medical research. Healthcare professionals must invest in skilled human transcribers since the correctness of medical transcripts determines the accuracy of documentation in the field.