With its young, easy-to-train, and service-oriented workforce; and strong support from the public sector, the Philippines is poised to become one of the best destinations for medical transcription services in the world.
Audio medical records are translated into transcription notes, for easy storage and retrieval
The industry definition of medical transcription is “the interpretation and conversion of dictations of physicians and other healthcare professionals into electronic form.” The idea is to create medical records that could support healthcare professionals and facilities to provide better patient services, develop medical data for research, and for insurance purposes. Essentially, audio medical records are translated into transcription notes, for easy storage and retrieval.
The medical transcription industry began with the 1996 passing of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States. With the objective of giving patients more control over their medical information, the HIPAA required healthcare providers to ensure the protection and security of patient medical records, whether in paper or electronic format. Failure to comply meant civil and criminal liabilities, with a minimum of $50,000 fine and one year imprisonment.
HIPAA compliance saw the US medical industry turn to more cost-efficient and high quality alternatives for their transcription needs. Hence the offshore medical transcription industry was born. This was further bolstered by the fact that many young Americans did not see a promising career outlook in the field and thus declined to replenish the industry with young, able bodies. This left the US transcription profession with an aging workforce and a huge gap to fill industry requirements.
In the Philippines, this industry began with the likes of Outsource Transcription Philippines Inc. (OPTI). By 1999, transcriptionists engaged in this line of work soon formed the backbone of the Philippine medical transcription industry we see today.
One of the major advantages of the Philippine medical transcription industry is that there is a growing educated and effective labor force ready to meet the demands of this thriving industry.
Roughly 50% are Physical Therapy graduates, 40% are nursing graduates
An industry report commissioned by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) reveals two major qualities. First, Filipino medical transcriptionists are a young population, with most found within the 20 to 25 age bracket. Second, many are of these workers have completed healthcare-related courses at the tertiary level. Roughly 50% are Physical Therapy graduates, 40% are nursing graduates and the remaining 10% have graduated from allied courses.
Further growth in the medical transcription industry can be attributed to the efforts of the public sector. Government has been very keen in providing the necessary environment for industry growth.
TESDA and HIMOAP officers (Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines) sign an agreement to provide training for Medical encoding in the Philippines
(Photo Credit: TESDA)
Aside from allowing fiscal incentives and tax breaks for international companies to set up shop in the Philippines, government has also seen it fit to provide additional capacity-building support for its potential workforce. In fact the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have developed scholarship programs, training courses and certification initiatives specific to the industry. Among these include the Medical Coding and Billing Training and Certification Project of DOST and the ladderized finishing program that TESDA offers.
These two reasons alone can account for long-term growth and a consistent level of quality of service that will allow for more clients and businesses to prefer the Philippines as the outsourcing solution for their medical transcription requirements.