a filing cabinet drawer pulled open to show many medical transcriptions

The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Your Medical Transcription

Medical transcription can be performed in-house, but many offices find it easier to outsource the responsibility. Outsourcing isn’t for everyone, but taking on the work comes with greater responsibility. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of outsourcing your medical transcription.

Pro: You pay for the service, not the employee.

One of the nice things about outsourcing is how much you can save on overhead. When you keep an employee or group of employees to perform in-house transcribing, you pay them no matter how much work they do. Whether it’s a busy season or a slow season, they’re probably making about the same rate of pay. In addition, if your office offers benefits, you may be paying for vacation time, sick days, or holiday pay. Turn around can also be a concern—if you lose the employee, who is going to keep up with your reports? Once you do find a replacement, it can take some time to train them and get them providing reports the way you want them. When you outsource, you generally pay the company for the reports you send them, which can mean lower costs during slower periods.

Con: Privacy requirements may be questionable.

Medical transcription companies will tell you they are professionals who know the privacy requirements and laws governing patient confidentiality. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. This process is, essentially, sending a patient’s private information to a group of strangers the patient didn’t necessarily opt for. Some medical facilities stick with in-house transcription specifically because of the privacy policies that can come into question when sending medical reports to a third-party company.

Pro: Generally, you can expect higher-quality transcribing.

Just because you’ve chosen an employee to perform your transcription does not mean it’s their best skill. An unfortunate side effect of needing your reports (and needing them now) is throwing someone into the role who may not be good at it. The people that work for outsourced transcription companies are experts at their job, and they have the equipment and programs to make their work even better.

Con: Turnaround can be questionable.

While it is true your own employees can become totally backed up during busy periods, there’s no guarantee this isn’t going to happen to a third-party company, too. Ideally, the company would have enough employees to cover peak season needs, but a concern for many offices is that these companies will also get bogged down during busy seasons. It could be days or weeks before you get your reports back.

Pro: You have options.

Need to put a rush on it? Many companies will get it to you immediately (for a little bit extra). Have a bad habit of accidentally shredding your reports? Most companies provide an off-site backup so you can access your reports again at a later date. Although, if you are expecting this, you should ask the company before you sign anything. When working with these types of companies, they often have many more feature options than you could offer in-house.

Con: You can get stuck in a contract with a company that isn’t for you.

Not every company is going to have the same benefits, and some of them are not going to have what you’re expecting. Before you get stuck in a contract, make sure you know what you want and that the company can indeed offer it. Shop around, and don’t get roped into a bad company full of false promises.

Last Updated: April 11, 2017