Obamacare, ICD-10 and the future of medical transcription

Linda Sullivan, CEO

I have been asked more than once my opinion on the effects of both Obamacare and of ICD-10 on medical transcription. So perhaps the larger question is: what is the real future of dictated and transcribed medical documentation?

Whether you are an advocate or a detractor of Obamacare, we do know that it is going to dramatically increase the required amount of documentation. Secondly, we know that the buzzword for ICD-10 (beyond the other buzzword “PAIN”) is “specificity.”

Um, so you take increased documentation beginning Jan. 1, 2014 with Obamacare and you add in a nearly ten-fold increase in specificity in patient’s medical documentation with ICD-10 implementation on Oct. 31, 2014 . . and you add in the fact that we do not have enough healthcare professionals . . . that sounds like if there isn’t more dictated and transcribed text, that there should be.

We know that while physician offices have gotten better about addressing the “my doctor is not looking at me while we are speaking” issue, we also know that there is nothing in a template or a pull-down menu that can really capture how Mrs. Smith is looking when she says “I just don’t know why I feel this ______ (fill in the blank).” Unless you’re talking about a medical issue on the level of a finger laceration, the uniqueness of every individual requires some rich verbalization (and typing by the doctor or correction of their SR-text is not a good use of their time and will become less so).

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8 Responses to Obamacare, ICD-10 and the future of medical transcription

  1. Dawna says:

    I am worried about my job for sure…been transcribing for our current hospital for
    about 17 years now. We now at starting the new EPIC system. We are all worried about the drop down system too taking over. Lets hope doctors realize they still need us.

    • JD says:

      We went to Epic a year ago. I lost my position as did quite a few others. Those still able to hang on are taking personal time off on the slow days a couple times a week and some days there is darn little in the hospital for them to do.
      The program, just fyi, can also eventually be used to bypass coders especially with O’care coming in, so going to that is no sure bet, either. Get out while you can!!! We took 3 pay cuts the year prior to Epic/no line pay just hourly, then just hours cut etc.

  2. Nancy Bally says:

    I am wondering why, as we are health professionals, the subject is not referred to by its name, the Affordable Care Act?

    • Once the president said publicly that he liked the name “Obamacare” and his administration began using it, the word lost its partisan flavor. It’s short and catchy and fits in a title much better than “The Affordable Care Act” so as long as the term is used by both sides, we’re happy not to have to type the extra keystrokes.
      I agree that for formal use, we’d want to go with the proper title but for an informal blog, “Obamacare” works well. We mean no disrespect or partisanship by using it.

    • Laurie Johnson says:

      The main reason it isn’t used by the given name is that it was wrongly named. Calling something “affordable” doesn’t make it so. And, as we’ve seen so far with premiums skyrocketing, this truth is self-evident.

      If they were to use a name that accurately described what was in the bill, it’d be called “The Driving Everyone Off Of Your Current Insurance So That People Will Demand Socialized Medicine Act.” But, you have to understand the economics and the politics to understand what is really happening.

  3. John Takacs DO says:

    Nice to hear appreciation for my attempts at individualizing a patient in my dictation. 30 plus years thanks to my transcribers for liatening through my bumbling discourse and rendering it fit for immortalisation in print!

  4. Pingback: MDS of Kansas | Medical Documentation (transcription) & ICD-10

  5. Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your article seem to be running off the screen in Safari. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The design look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Thanks

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