Thursday, November 29, 2012

AUTOMATIC SPEECH RECOGNITION IS MAKING MEDICAL TRANSCRIPTION JOBS EASIER



The introduction of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology is altering the nature of work of Medical Transcriptionists. Prior to the introduction of ASR technology, medical transcriptionists had to keenly listen to a doctor's dictation of a medical report and completely transcribe the record. The need for a high level of accuracy and timely delivery of files made the work very challenging and at times even stressful. Medical transcriptionists used to spend nearly six hours on an average to transcribe one hour of dictation.
After the introduction of ASR, it was found that medical transcriptionists now spent less than three hours to edit and correct errors that were found on ASR software processed drafts.
This reduction in processing time is possible because, along with the actual voice files of doctors, medical transcriptionists now receive pre-transcribed draft documents that have a quality rating of approximately 90%.  The medical transcriptionists’ main objective is to rectify errors found on the drafts by editing them so as to improve the quality of the ASR documents.
The common errors that medical transcriptionists may encounter in the ASR draft are:
  • Nonsensical phrases
  • Sound-a-like phrases
  • Wrong laboratory values
  • Incorrect drug names
  • Missing English or medical words
  • Document formatting
Hence the job of a medical transcriptionist has become more like that of an editor in that it now involves mostly correcting and editing medical documents. This is making MT work more sophisticated and easy.
Furthermore, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 encourages all medical practitioners to transform from the conventional medical transcription practice to a more sophisticated ‘point-and-click’ template oriented system that is called electronic medical records (EMR).  This new system enables the speeding up of the documentation process and thereby helps doctors provide better care to their patients.
The introduction of ASR and EMR technology in medical transcription is consequently changing the nature of work of medical transcriptionists for good.
According to Mr. Anand, Vice President of Azimuth, the Indian medical documentation industry will take these technological changes in its stride and continue to grow.  Popular reports suggest that there are around 50,000 trained medical transcriptionists in India. In comparison, Mr. Anand believes that there are just 10,000 MT professionals who are active in the profession. He goes on to predict that there would be a huge demand for good quality Medical Transcriptionists in the days to come resulting in more career opportunities for graduates with good English skills.

He adds  that the current generation of Medical Transcriptionists who adapt to technological changes in their work will thrive in the game.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Life Skills Education Need of the Hour for School Students



According to UNICEF, “The term Life Skills refers to a large group of psycho-social and interpersonal skills which can help people make informed decisions, communicate effectively, and develop coping and self-management skills that may help them lead healthy and productive lives. Life skills may be directed toward personal actions, actions toward others, as well as actions to change the surrounding environment to make it conducive to health (healthy living)”.

In fact around 164 countries across the globe have made a commitment with UNICEF to include Life Skills Based Education (LSBE) in basic learning for school students. Unfortunately, this commitment continues to remain on paper in most of the countries, more so in India.

The Indian education system that was extremely theoretical in nature in the past has very recently been trying to apply elements of practical learning to all subjects and at all levels (classes) via its educational boards. Though this action is widely appreciated and welcomed, Life Skill Courses are yet to find prominence in the curricula of the various boards. Not surprisingly there is minimal learning or teaching aids relating to Life Skill courses in the Indian Schools.

As such, there is no concluding list of Life Skill courses as many Life Skill courses are demographic specific. For example, in some African countries HIV/AIDS prevention courses are considered most important Life Skill courses whereas in some other countries life skills for managing Exam Stress are considered very important.

In the Indian context, the following Life Skills courses need to be taught to the school students:
  • Physical Wellness (Health, Hygiene, Diet and Nutrition)
  • Mental Wellness (Goal Setting, Motivation, Positive Attitude, Decision Making)
  • Communication (Listening, Writing, Comprehensive & Speaking)
  • Social Skills (Religious and Class Tolerance, Morality, Ethics, Empathy & etiquette)
  • Teamwork (Making Friends, Team play and Team work)
  • Self Management (Managing Time, Managing Stress, Problem solving and reasoning)
  • Local environment (Traffic rules & Road sense, Environment education
Azimuth Academy has initiated the development and delivery of Life Skill courses both in the online and DVD modes for the school students of India and abroad. For starters, it has the following Life Skill courses in the production pipeline:-
  • Life Skills - Health & Hygiene for High School Students
  • Life Skills - Diet & Nutrition  for High School Students
  • Life Skills - Smart Study for High School Students
  • Life Skills - Exam Stress (Beating Examination Blues) for High School Students 


SNIPPETS OF THE AZIMUTH LIFE SKILLS COURSE ON HEALTH & HYGIENE FOR JUNIOR SCHOOL STUDENTS
             
BASIC INFORMATION ON ALLERGIES FUNGAL DISEASES AND INFECTIONS


TIPS ON COMMON EVERYDAY ITEMS THAT CAN BE SHARED AND NOT SHARED


FUN EXERCISES TO TEST COMPREHENSION AND REINFORCE LEARNING


The Azimuth Academy welcomes content contribution, feedback and suggestions from academicians, teachers, soft skill/life skill trainers, institutions, NGOs and government agencies.
Please write/contact Anand K at anand@azisoft.com, Phone: +91-9843702020.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Medical Transcription Market Scenario in India


Medical Transcription is a structured Healthcare BPO business that is prominently found in the USA, Canada, Philippines and India.

As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics reports, the MT industry was projected to grow around 11% providing for approximately 105,200 to 116,900 jobs between 2008 and 2018 in spite of the gloomy and weak global economy.

In India, the MT market has evolved and it is estimated that there are now around 12,000 to 13,000 experienced Medical Transcriptionists. MT companies with good business fundamentals, finance, and technology and production practices are the only ones that have survived and grown in the present market conditions. The quality and turnaround time expectation in the MT industry is currently around 99% and 12 hours respectively. Companies that produce consistent international quality and deliveries are expected to sustain and grow their operations in the MT business.

Till 2009, the annual attrition rate in the MT industry was around 30% and many MT companies went out of business between the years 2006 to 2008.  This was due to strong competition for recruitment of experienced medical transcriptionists with rampant poaching of employees being a common recruitment strategy followed by most of the recruiters during that time. It was also very unfortunate that there were not many MT companies and training institutes in India that were into quality Medical Transcription training.
In the year 2007, Azimuth addressed the shortfall of quality MT training and became one of the first companies in India to launch a complete and comprehensive online MT training course. The course’s strict adherence to the MT industry’s quality norms and training methodologies makes it very popular even to this very day.

Technically speaking, there has been a dramatic change in the way the medical transcription work has been processed since 2009. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2009) mandated the embrace of voice recognition technology by all the healthcare service providers, and also emphasized the standardization of medical transcription reports. In India, between the years 2009 to 2010, the inability to adapt to technological changes in terms of voice recognition and deliver good quality to clients forced mediocre and small MT companies out of the MT business.

Since 2011, the Indian MT industry has consolidated into a niche creamy sector with the majority of experienced and seasoned MT players who have sustained and adapted to changing MT technology, quality norms and market trends.  The news is that the Indian MT industry is expected to grow at a minimum rate of 10% every year given that the foreign exchange rate between the US dollar and the Indian Rupee stay above Rs.50 per dollar, the inflation rate is less than 7%, and the US economy grows at a minimum rate of 2% t0 3% annually.

The future outlook of the MT industry in India looks bright in the wake of medical insurance gaining prominence in India. Corporate hospitals in India will also be recruiting approximately thousand medical transcriptionists every year for their in-house transcription and medical record management purposes.  Entry level and experienced Medical Transcriptionists will also be wanted in other Healthcare services like Medical coding, Medical billing, and Medical record management based on their medical language skill sets.

The bottom line is that there will be continuous demand for Medical Transcription services in India and elsewhere as long as quality, turnaround time & pricing are matched with the industry or local job market standards.

This Blog is written by Mr. Anand who has 12 years of experience in the Medical Transcription business. He is currently the Vice-President of Azimuth. He can be contacted at anand@azisoft.com

Sunday, August 2, 2009

AZIMUTH HAS AN ADDITIONAL LAB FACILITY

As a clear sign of Azimuth’s steady growth a new lab facility was inaugurated on Thursday, 30 July 2009. Mr. Terry Leger, CEO of Azimuth opened the new facility at the third floor by cutting the ribbon in the presence of the various heads of departments of Azimuth and the trainees of active batches. In his inaugural speech, he explained the growth of Azimuth by highlighting and comparing its annual profits during its formative years with that of the latest years. He also reiterated the importance of sincerity, dedication and quality consciousness in discharging one’s duty. He pointed out many serving employees of Azimuth as a role model of rising to a high position from a humble beginning. The heads of various departments introduced themselves and shared their experience in Azimuth with the trainees. Then the event came to the conclusion with vote of thanks.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

AZIMUTH AT ‘JOB FAIR 2009-CHENNAI’

In the recently concluded ‘Job Fair 2009’, Azimuth made its prominent presence by putting up a stall along with those of other BPO firms like Perot Systems, Sutherland Global Services, Reliance BPO etc.

The global economic slowdown has already begun to show the signs of withdrawal and many MNCs have stopped firing and started hiring. Against this backdrop, TECHRUIT, the human resource consultancy in Chennai organized a fair titled ‘Job Fair 2009’ at Queen Mary’s College, Chennai on July 4 and 5. Even though it was not an exclusive IT job fair, several IT and ITeS companies took part and offered job opportunities. The fair was meant for the students passed out between 2006 and 2009 and nearly 750 graduates from various streams were expected to get recruited with a monthly pay ranging between Rs.5,000/- and Rs.12,000/-.

A resourceful team from Azimuth, Puducherry comprising Mr. John (Manager - HR), Ms. Arunmozhi (Manager - Azimuth Academy) and Ms. Vithya (Marketing Executive), stayed in the city and made the participation fruitful. They addressed nearly 500 candidates in two days and made them aware of Azimuth in terms of its (i) undisputed position in the healthcare process outsourcing industry, (ii) leadership in providing quality MT training at affordable cost and (iii) staffing process and capacity. The team also threw light on the current scenario of MT industry and its employment potentiality.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

COLLEGE STUDENTS UNDERWENT IN-PLANT TRAINING

For the 250 or so students of Indira Gandhi College of Arts and Science, it was really a day that stood apart from the rest of their academic days. The training hall at the third floor of Azimuth wore a festive look, as it was abuzz with the lively conversations of the enthusiastic participants. Students in batches of 50 took turn and attended the in-plant training program at Azimuth from June 29 to July 3, 2009.

The students went on their rounds and observed the ongoing activities in the production and MT training facilities every morning before gathering at the training hall. The training session started with the welcome address by Mr. John Isaac, Manager (HR). It was followed by the orientation session handled by Ms. Vithya, (Marketing Executive). She threw light on the current scenario of MT industry, its immunity to the global economic slowdown and its promising future.

Mr. Aravazhi, Mentor, Azimuth Academy, thoroughly explained the various procedures involved in Medical Transcription and what constitutes a successful Medical Transcriptionist. He also gave a brief introduction to the language of medicine.

Ms. Arunmozhi, Manager, Azimuth Academy, explained the advantages and significance of online training. She also highlighted the relevance of online training in terms of housewives and those who are willing to work from home at the comfort of their own time and pace. She then described the various aspects of online tutoring process and round-the-clock help desk.

Students were given pre and post session questionnaires and their responses were documented. On the whole, the students opined that the training program offered them an educative and informative experience of their lifetime.

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