Vibha, a member of Confederation of Women Entrepreneurs is launching a three-month training
programme in medical transcription for graduates and home-makers
EASY WAY OUT: All one needs to become a medical transcriptionist are good listening skills and typing ability. Photo: K.R. Deepak
Aparna D. is a medical transcriptionist who works from home. At 4 a.m. she wakes up and works in the wee hours of the morning, taking a break from 7.30 to 8.30 a.m. to send her son to school and then gets back to work listening to doctors' recommendations and typing them out in a file.
Files are sent to her by a Mumbai-based company and she earns Rs. one rupee, ten paise for every line. And when its time for many to swipe their attendance at the office, Aparna logs out at 10 a.m. to spend the rest of her time as she likes.
Aparna who took to
home transcription three-and-a-half years after working in a company finds this arrangement gives her ample time to take care of her home and earn as well. "Earlier I used to work for eight hours and make Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 10,000, now I am earning around Rs. 15,000 to 20,000 per month on my own," says Aparna.
This flexi work has also enabled her to pursue her passion as a voice-over artist on a television channel. She says many Hyderabad-based companies are ready to give
work to home transcriptionists.
Adds Venkateswara Rao, who runs Vasavi Prosoft Transcription Limited, "We have given a lot of
work to housewives in home transcription, but from our experience we have seen that if they are with us for a year, they develop the ability to work independently on projects, which is good for them as well as for the country."
It?s shake-out time for medical transcription industry
P Ram Kumar - Hyderabad
What started with a bang seems to have quietened on a note feebler than a whimper. A couple of years back, there was a spurt of companies and training institutions in the area of medical transcription (MT). More than 300 companies in the country entered the MT industry two years ago, hoping to make a fast buck. But their high expectations were belied and today hardly 25 companies have sustained in their business. A large number of MT companies and training centres have downed their shutters and vanished.
In Andhra Pradesh alone, there were initially 100 MT companies in 1998-99, out of which around 50 were registered under the Software Technology Park of India (STPI), Hyderabad. This figure has today dwindled to around 12. Ramakrishna T, managing director of World Infotech Private Ltd of Hyderabad, one of the early entrants into the MT arena and still in this business, says the MT project is not of short gestation as believed by over-ambitious entrepreneurs. ??It takes a minimum period of at least three years to consolidate the operations before reaching the break-even level,?? he notes.
Most MT companies could not sustain their operations because they were new to the transcription field and could not understand the concept and overcome the practical problems. Ramakrishna points out, ?It is essential to first identify the customers, understand the American accent and get acquainted with the talking styles of doctors in the US. Every month thousands of words get added to medical terminologies. A person engaged in
MT service in India willing to be successful, must have a representative office in the US to co-ordinate the works and extend the necessary support to the Indian companies. Above all, work standards and quality of service matter a lot to the clients in the US.??
Hyderabad-based Care Technologies India Private Ltd, director, Dr Ram K Rao says, ?Medical transcription is a very knowledge intensive business. One can?t earn money in just one or two years. Quality of service is very essential because the medical transcription that we send to the US becomes a legal document to the insurance companies.
Achieving accuracy of at least 98 per cent in MT is of utmost importance and most companies in India have failed to come up to the expectations.??
On marketing, Ramakrishna says, ??The advantage in MT service is that when quality service is provided, doctors in the US remain with you and keep giving contracts. We have to build a good credibility. Marketing for this service is not needed unlike for software wherein one has to keep approaching the clients from time to time when new products are launched.??
Both Dr Rao and Ramakrishna observe that there are good business opportunities in MT in the US. The US healthcare industry is worth $ 1.4 trillion (14 per cent of the GDP). According to the MT industry estimates in the US, while every year the business in this field is going up by 10 per cent, there is a proportionate decline in the number of medical transcriptionists in the US. Mostly youngsters leave this profession for better remuneration. The total transcription capacity that can be handled in the US is estimated to fall from 85.37 billion lines in 2000 to 50.80 billion lines by 2004. The shortfall to be outsourced internationally will go up from 106.27 billion lines in 2000 to 196.37 billion lines in 2004.
According to the same study, the value of MT business to India is projected to increase from Rs 4.35 billion in 2000 to Rs 19.29 billion in 2004. India has a market share of around 3 per cent in America?s MT business.
It may be recalled that according to a survey done by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), medical transcription service in India generated over 3800 jobs and a turnover of Rs 140 crore in 1998. For 2008, it has been estimated that employment potential would be 1,60,000 and a revenue of Rs 11,000 crore. Going by the present trend, this seems to be an uphill task for India to hit these figures, though enormous business exists for this service in the US.
World Infotech, which entered the MT service in 1998, has around 150 medical transcriptionists and supports the operations of five other companies engaged in the same business. Says Ramakrishna, ?I still have 30 per cent spare capacity. We are now in the real take-off stage. Every month we add around 15 new recruits and train them.?? The company made a turnover of around Rs One crore in 1999-2000. It recently commenced providing other services to the doctors like taking up billing works and catering to their software needs.
With a total strength of around 200 medical transcriptionists and 100 computer terminals, Care Technologies has a three-year contract with US hospitals.? We have well trained people and offer 24-hour service in shifts, besides providing medical billing and coding services?, says Dr Rao, who is also a management consultant and has worked in the States.
As it happened in case of dotcoms, the medical transcription industry too seems to be witnessing a shake-out. But going by the potential in store for this business, it seem to emerge as a major money spinner for the Indian healthcare industry.
Marathon recruitment drive by firm
HYDERABAD: Transdyne, a medical transcription company serving clients in the US, is running a 100-hour non-stop recruitment marathon till September 17.
The unique recruitment drive was thrown open by C.S. Rao, Advisor to the State Government on information technology, on Tuesday. Candidates can walk into the Transdyne office at Dwarkapuri Colony in Punjagutta (near Saibaba Temple) and take a simple test in English. The candidates will be interviewed and the job offer given. The only eligibility is that candidates should know English. The office is open round-the-clock.
The Limca Book of Records is recording it as a one-of-its-kind event. The company presently has 850 employees working for it and is recruiting more people. "We will be offering jobs to about 400 persons during the drive," said Raghuram of Transdyne.
New MT centre
Chandigarh, April 29
Punjab Finance Minister Kanwaljit Singh today inaugurated a medical transcription centre established here by Fast Online Precision Infotek Ltd, which has technical collaboration with the Medwrite America Inc based in Seattle, USA. The company promises cent per cent in-house placements for the trainees.