When did transparency become opaque?

Don’t ya love the marketing geniuses? They can take any word and spin it. Transparency is a great one.  If you’re transparent, it means what you say is what you deliver.

CEO Linda Sullivan

It was thought a few years ago that if the measurement of transcription was changed that it would be clearer what clients were getting and paying for. The definition of a line for years was 65 characters with spaces. I can remember … okay now I am really dating myself …  I used to actually count the characters and spaces before delivering back office notes to my physician-office clients.

Several years ago a new definition came into play – the visible black character. It seemed to make sense: a character costs X and therefore you would know exactly what you were paying for … well, not necessarily.

For example, when information comes in via an ADT feed and is sent back to the client in some form, are they paying for any, part, or all of that?  Or when a document on letterhead is returned, is the client paying for those characters? Or if the sales person tells the selection committee they define a line in one way but it is obliquely expressed as something else in the contract, which is reviewed by the legal department (their focus being legalities and the right cost per unit), then perhaps it is not so clear.

Whether you agree or not to pay for headers and footers or return of some part of the ADT feed, the important point is that both client and vendor must agree on the billing methodology. It is essential to have a true partnership with your vendors. It’s worth finding out if their definition of transparency is the same as yours.

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