Friday, September 14, 2007

The Cost Effectiveness of Digital Dictation Systems

One of the most important features of a digital dictation system is its ability to track the productivity of dictating doctors and medical transcriptionists. By accessing the database maintained on the digital dictation system, it is fairly easy to determine whether or not a physician has dictated a specific report.

The system administrator can search for any report by defining his search using the author ID#, the type of report, and the patient's medical record number. With those parameters, the administrator can quickly determine when the report was dictated, how long the report took to dictate and, if it has already been transcribed, when it was transcribed and by whom it was transcribed. If the report has not yet been transcribed, it can be routed or "masked" to a particular transcriptionist who can instantly access the physician's dictation on the system and transcribe the report.

Contrast that ease of locating a report with the standard procedure followed before digital dictation systems entered the field: If a physician called down to a hospital's Medical Record Department and said "This patient is going to surgery -- we need a written history and physical as soon as possible!" everyone was forced to stop what they were doing, search for the tape that might have been properly logged, and hope that it could be found and transcribed within a reasonable period of time. If the work was being done by an outside transcription service which delivered tapes to people working out of their homes, further delays could be encountered because:

  • The tapes were still in transit.

  • The transcriptionist had not yet started to work.

  • The transcriptionist was not at home when the call came through, or had not checked the messages on an answering machine.

  • The doctor had failed to properly identify the report.

Critical time lost while people searched for a missing report was usually income-producing time that transcriptionists were forced to spend away from the keyboard. With a digital dictation system, the system administrator or supervisor on duty can perform the search without having to disturb the transcriptionists.

Next: How To Use The Reports Generated By Digital Dictation Systems

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