New Opportunities for HBT's

 

By Raja simhan te Chennai, aug 14.
MS Maya Menon, a former customer relationship officer at Blue Dart, quit her job to take up a career in medical transcription (MT). After a brief stint with one of the leading city-based MT companies, Ms Menon decided to become a home-based medical transcriptionist (HT). Today, as an HT and working from home Ms Menon is quite happy earning a considerable income and at the same time spending enough time with her children without affecting her job. Ms Menon is not alone. There are hundreds of such HTs in the country. In fact, in Bangalore, a couple and two children work as HTs and the income for the family is quite substantial, says Mr Harikrishnan, Location Head, Acusis Software India Pvt Ltd, a 100 per cent subsidiary of the US-based medical transcription company, Acusis. It is said that in the US, the HT is quite popular and accounts for almost 90 per cent of the transcription industry. In India, however, HT as a concept started about four years ago and is still in a nascent stage. Nevertheless, the concept is catching up even as multinational firms look for skilled manpower at a low cost. For instance, Acusis recently said that it plans to invest about $5 million more in its Indian operations in 2002. The company, which set up its operations in India a few months ago, had pumped in $8 million in creating the necessary infrastructure at Bangalore, Mysore and Chennai. The company caters mainly to the US market, and is one of the leaders in HT in India. Currently Acusis has about 100 medical transcriptionists, of whom nearly 70 per cent operate from their homes. The company expects this base to increase to some 4,000 in the next three to four years, he said. ``The HT market as a concept in the country is still at a nascent stage. But, it will explode in another five years," he added. At the core of Acusis' home transcription plan is its software, AcuSuite. It allows transcriptionists to connect to the main office, sends them the voice files to be transcribed, then sends the documents back to the Acusis facility. To ensure quality, another team of transcriptionists review the files once they are submitted. Says Ms Menon, to become an HT, one needs a personal computer, the requisite skills sets and to a certain extent the domain knowledge. Accuracy and speed is important in this field. Further, there is pressure on the HTs, as the companies normally work on a 24-hour turnaround time. "HT provides the right combination of earning and spending time with the kids sitting at home," she says. Other than the PC cost (Acusis provides the software), said Ms Menon, who works for Acusis, an HT needs to pay a deposit to the company which could be Rs 10,000-Rs 60,000 depending upon the firm. The deposit, according to Mr Harikrishnan, was to ensure that only genuine persons enter the HT field. For HTs, there is no exclusivity clause to work for a particular company, he added. On the returns, Ms Menon said, on an average, an experienced HT can transcribe and type 600-800 lines per day. With 95-97 per cent accuracy, the income could be Re 1 per line, which translates into Rs 600-800 per day, she said. However, there may not be work all the time, she added. Besides housewives, Acusis has doctors, nurses and pharmacists who take it up as a part-time job, he said. The company has a per line quantity/quality-dependent payment system, and an Acusis HT can plan the amount of work he/she would like to perform on a daily basis, he added. While HT can make a good living, performing MT as a home-based business is not a ``get rich quick scheme". Medical transcription is hard work but can be rewarding both financially and personally, says sources. However, the transcriptionist working from home must make a significant investment in equipment and reference material and be willing to make frequent updates to both equipment and library in order to keep up with rapidly changing technology and terminology, say experts. ----------------------------------------

Medical transcription industry staging a comeback

 

By P. Vikram Reddy HYDERABAD, MARCH 20.
Just when everyone thought medical transcription was down and out, it is staging a recovery and is all set to grow exponentially in India. Cbay Systems, incorporated in the U.S. as early as 1998, in the thick of the last round of IT euphoria, has emerged as the fourth largest medical transcription company in the U.S. and has started implementing its gigantic expansion plans based on its model of 95 per cent outsourcing from India. And it seems quite unfazed by the ongoing BPO controversy in the U.S. With 33 franchisees and five of its own centres in India, Cbay now employees about 1,200 people (which it has trained) and recorded revenues of $33 million and a 70 per cent growth rate. Its expansion plans are a mindboggling 10,000 people working to generate revenues of about $100 million by 2005, says, V. Raman Kumar, the U.S. based Chairman and founder of Cbay Systems. Mr. Kumar was here recently, visiting their new facility Ckar, which is managed by Karvy Consultants, under a management tie-up (without being a joint venture). It is talking to companies in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Chennai for further expansion. In Andhra Pradesh it is looking at stepping up the headcount from 700 in four franchisees and Ckar, to about 5,000 people, and is looking at places like Guntur also to set up operations. Mr. Raman says it has 50 clients (mostly missionaries) in the U.S., none of them government. While they do not fear any backlash, he says only one hospital dropped out ? but on religious grounds and not due to the ongoing controversy. The U.S. medical transcription industry alone is put at about $20 billion, of which only $3 billion is outsourced to U.S. based companies. Hardly $40 million is outsourced to India, which is quite small, he points out. So far Cbay has raised $20 million from venture capitalists and equity investors, and is planning to raise another $25 million for its next round of big expansion in India. The Indian market is put at about $40 million with about 5,000 trained medical transcriptionists working and appears all set to grow. As Mr. Raman says there is now a critical shortage of qualified MTs in the U.S., which is expected increase drastically as demand grows at double-digit rates. The shortage is expected to be to the tune of one lakh medical transcription by 2004 end, and India is obviously the destination to fill this void. ----------------------------------------

iMedX buys US medical transcription co

 

Hyderabad March 16.
Healthcare and software services provider iMedX has announced that it has acquired Tidewater Medical Transcription Services Inc, (TMTS), as it complements its healthcare-focussed business. The company declined to disclose the deal value citing non-disclosure agreement and said that it was in pursuit of two more acquisitions, and is likely to close them during the year. The President and CEO of iMedX, Mr Venkat Sharma, who is a serial entrepreneur and part of a Swiss venture firm, said that the healthcare market is heavily regulated in the US by the Federal Government, making technology spend mandatory. The spend relates to maintaining medical records electronically and gradual shift towards electronic prescriptions. Mr Sharma claimed they were the first company to develop an electronic prescription system and launched it in July, and have commercially begun to offer it in the US. The company employs about 1,000 people in India and the US, both directly and through franchise partners, and may add about 500 more during the year. Mr Sharma said that its platform TurboScribe helps hospitals and doctors in better maintenance of electronic records of patients, and in medical transcription business for storage of records for longer time. The company hinted at the possibility of an IPO next year. ----------------------------------------

The Times of India, India

 

SPI acquires Comat
Software Paradigms India (SPI), based in Mysore, has acquired another Mysore based company, Comat Technologies. SPI will take over all BPO and LPO customers of Comat Technologies, as also the latter?s 400 plus employees working on medical transcription and legal coding services. With this, SPI?s total number of employees will increase to over 1,000. SPI CEO Sid Mookerji said the acquisition will expand their service line and provide diversified opportunities in Europe. Mookerji said the focus will remain on Mysore and it will employ more people in the months to come. Comat will continue to focus on its rural initiative of creating 10,000 IT enabled rural kiosks providing services in the areas of government, education and finance. Comat CEO Ravi Rangan said the company had trained 1500 candidates in the previous year. ----------------------------------------

Medical charts not all that private

 

When Lisa Farragut had to have an operation a few years ago, she specifically told her doctor that she didn't want her medical chart leaving his office. "There's a lot of personal information in there," she said. "Your name, address, Social Security number, whether you have problems with drugs or alcohol. I didn't want that getting out." Farragut had reason for concern. She's been a professional medical transcriptionist for the past 28 years and currently works out of her Riverside County home in Corona. She handles people's confidential medical records every day as doctors and hospitals increasingly farm out the labor- and time-intensive task of transcribing recorded notes into electronic format. "The problem," said Farragut, who also serves as president of the California Association for Medical Transcription, "is that you never know where your records will go or who could end up looking at them. I wouldn't want my own chart sitting in someone's living room." The fact that doctors and hospitals are routinely outsourcing medical transcription will probably come as a surprise to most people -- it did to me. Even more disconcerting is that a growing share of this work is heading to cut-rate firms in other countries, where strict U.S. privacy laws either do not apply or are difficult to enforce. Last month, for example, India celebrated World Medical Transcription Week. "India has become the favorite country for outsourcing in the U.S.," Prasenjit Ganguly, vice president of the country's largest medical transcription service, Max HealthScribe, told the Times of India. Max HealthScribe alone employs more than 1,000 medical transcriptionists in Bangalore to handle the workload from U.S. health care providers. The company says it can cut a hospital's transcription costs in half. Nearly all Bay Area hospitals -- including those run by Sutter, Kaiser, UC San Francisco and Stanford -- outsource at least a portion of their transcription work. It's unclear, though, how much of that goes to domestic services and how much makes its way overseas either directly or as subcontracted work. "We outsource all our transcription," said Courtney Conlon, spokeswoman for Seton Medical Center in Daly City. "If we didn't, we'd probably need eight to 10 full-time employees on staff. It's very cost-effective for us." Seton, like many health care providers I spoke with, contracts with MedQuist, the nation's largest provider of medical-transcription services. In April, the New Jersey company reported quarterly net income of $10.51 million on revenue of $125 million. MedQuist employs about 9,000 transcriptionists, most of whom work out of their homes in various parts of the country. More than 1,000 are in California. Brian Kearns, the company's chief financial officer, said that "only a little" of MedQuist's work is subcontracted to Indian transcription firms. But he acknowledged that lower-priced Indian competitors are attracting more business. "As a result," Kearns said, "we're not growing." Margie Kahn, an Oakland transcriptionist (don't call them transcribers; that's the name of the machine they use) said few patients are aware of the scope of information being outsourced by hospitals. "The goal is that every piece of information about you and your medical history will be available electronically," she said. External transcriptionists now handle patients' admitting histories and physical exams, discharge summaries, consultations with specialists and surgical reports. They also frequently transcribe notes on patients' X-rays. Often, said Farragut of the transcriptionists' association, tape recordings from doctors and hospitals are accompanied by patients' complete medical charts, which include all of one's personal information. "There's a lot of information in the chart that we need for our work," she explained. "It all has to be accurate." Transcriptionists in the United States and abroad are required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, to keep confidential medical info to themselves. "But it's all on the honor system," Farragut said. "How many places can the HIPAA people be checking? They can't inspect everywhere." Indeed, most transcriptionists at home and abroad use the Internet to transmit data. Doctors dictate their written notes into a phone. The notes are then converted into digital format by archiving services and sent via the Net to a transcriptionist. Zix Corp., a Texas maker of e-mail security software, said it analyzed transmissions by the top 100 U.S. health care providers. More than half had violated HIPAA by sending confidential information over the Net without proper safeguards, the company found. "Despite many public statements asserting compliance with HIPAA, the fact is that many organizations aren't successfully enforcing the regulations," said Dan Nutkis, Zix's vice president of strategy and products. So how worried should people be? At this point, it's hard to say. No one I spoke with said they could think of a single instance in which confidential info leaked from a transcriptionist. Yet, as with the trend of overseas companies providing tech support for U.S. health care providers, including Oakland's Kaiser Permanente, a danger exists that one's privacy can be violated. "When you see your doctor, you have every right to say that you don't want your charts going somewhere else," said Farragut. "They can get lost. You don't know who will see them. "In my own case," she added, "I didn't want my chart out and about." Unfortunately, it's getting harder and harder to keep such things under lock and key. ----------------------------------------

Medical transcription: Accurate and on time

 

Sudipta Dev/Mumbai .
* When a Mumbai-based medical transcription company conducted tests of hundreds of students from Gujarat who had got trained under a special programme started by the State Government, the accuracy level was found to be a shocking 20 percent. * There are only 6 CMTs (Certified Medical Transcri-ptionists) in India authorised by the American Association of Medical Transcri-ptionists the body giving valid international certifications. The industry employs more than 6,000 people presently. * There are many institutes in India conducting medical transcription courses, but not even one among the lot is a recognised training centre. It was essentially the lure of high profitability that led to the mushrooming of medical transcription (MT) units in the country two years ago. Today inefficient manpower resou-rces have forced the closure of most and in the process, consolidated the market for big time players, who have managed to not just survive but successfully thrive through the trying times. No longer a domain of small time owners and fly-by-night operators, quality training and international certifications, if available in the country could well put India ahead of Phillippines and China, the main providers in the Asia Pacific region. Nasscom predicts that the industry has the potential to earn an annual revenue of Rs 4,000 crore by 2008 employing more than 50,000 people. For a business where the level of accuracy determines the payment, it competes on quality not price. The clincher being the fact that good transcriptionists are much more difficult to come by than the general staff required for other IT enabled services. They are the greatest assets of the company, the driving force and revenue generators. The need to design a standardised curriculum, suited to the requirements of the industry has long been felt. Following the closure of many MT units, the industry seems to have woken up to the fact that it needs to train and treat its people resources well to survive. ?Based on our industry experience we have devised a curriculum to train transcriptionists to understand the accent and develop skills. One of the major problems is that there is no live work and the students are made to practice on dummy files. More practice needs to be done on live files to fine-tune the skills of understanding medical terminologies with live output,? says Kirit Kanakiya, managing director, BSEL Information Systems. One of the major players, the company subcontracts its projects to smaller units in India. It?s US subsidiary has in fact recently taken over two medical transcription centres there. Reminding that proper distribution of software is essential, ensuring that an individual is given the voice data of the same doctor everyday, he says that most companies in India is that they do not invest in monitoring software. ?We have developed an effective software which we give to our vendors,? claims Kanakiya, adding that this is necessary to create a knowledge base. It was primarily the lack of efficient trained personnel that made Kanakiya contemplate outsourcing to Phillippines a recently acquired big order worth $3,00,000, when an Indian company agreed to provide the accuracy level. ?This project will give employment to a thousand people,? says the man with obvious pride, pointing out that there is no dearth of these kinds of projects if the accuracy levels are guaranteed after passing through the quality analysis tests. The stringent requirement of medical transcription makes it different from the call centre industry the results in this case are immediate. The TAT (turn around time) of 8 hours is another essential factor for getting payments. Heavy deductions and penalties are imposed if the accuracy and time factor clauses are not met. ?It is more difficult to train people who have studied in the vernacular stream than those from English medium background. It is essentially a matter of grammar,? says Sukrut Shah, director, Namrata Infotech, a medical transcription training company in Mumbai. Shah believes that students from metro cities, fare much better than those from smaller towns. At the Godrej Remote Services medical transcription centre in the city only fresh graduates are recruited after they clear the entrance exam. ?We teach them from the very basics so that they are able to get an idea what medical transcription is all about,? informs accounts officer Kalpesh. In this case also a good command over English is an essential requirement along with background knowledge of computers. The truth remains that extensive training of not less than six to eight months is needed not just on medical terminologies and language rules, but a better adaptability to the doctor?s language, understanding accents and diction styles. The ability to recognise and interpret inaccuracies and verifying patient report for accuracy is also needed. Experts demand that MT training institutes should be set up in the country in collaboration with renowned training centres in the US. While the industry has been seeking support from Nasscom and various state governments, the initiatives need to be well planned to prevent debacles, like a recent programme initiated by the Gujarat Government. Under this programme the State Government paid Rs 19,500 course as fee per student to MT training centres. The students had to pay the remaining Rs 500. Overnight hundreds of centres sprung up in the state, there were 68 in a town like Rajkot. Although thousands of students were trained, they could not meet the industry standards. The training centres also vanished as suddenly as they had appeared. The result? Despite lakhs being spent no real contribution was made to the industry. Foibles like these could well be avoided and more efforts made to introduce certification courses and international standard training probably the only needs of the hour, to make the industry the predicted fourth largest foreign exchange earner for the country ----------------------------------------

Medical transcriptionist course from November

 

PUNE, Oct 21: The Sofcom Institute of E-Com and Teleworking (SIeT), an institute offering training for medical transcriptionist (MT), will conduct courses from November 1. The course will be conducted by an experienced faculty in each aspect of MT including computers, word processor, medical terminology transcribing. Over 20,000 people are employed in the MT industry. The requirement of such units is increasing because of the medico-legal necessity and cost saving aspect. Here the patient's medical data as dictated by doctors abroad is beamed to India via satellites. The data in the digitalised audio format is listened to, transcribed in the electronic form and sent back to respective places. Graduates, post-graduates, undergraduates, nurses, housewives, lab technicians proficient in English are eligible to apply for the four month course. The course is designed by a professional team of doctors and hospital personnel in USA. For further details, E-mail: sofcompune@email.com ----------------------------------------------------- -------------- SPI acquires Coimbatore-based MT business SPI Technologies Inc, a leading global content outsourcing provider has acquired Coimbatore-based KG Information Services and Technologies Private Limited?s medical transcription business (KGMT). The acquisition of Coimbatore-based KGMT will enable SPI to quickly expand its delivery capacity to meet accelerating demand transcription services by US healthcare providers. ??Providing medical transcription and other healthcare information management services is one of SPI?s fastest growing lines of business,?? Ernest Cu, president and CEO of SPI Technologies said adding, ??The KGMT acquisition gives us state-of-the art facilities in India with a capacity of over 800 employees to complement our medical transcription operations in the US and the Philippines.?? ??The acquisition of KGMT broadens our presence in the country, adding to our current staff count of nearly 1,000 across the cities of Chennai, Pondicherry, Kolkata and New Delhi. SPI Technologies is committed to building a greater presence in India and maintaining our leadership role in global business process outsourcing,?? said Cu. The growth in global medical transcription services is being driven by increased demand from the United States, where annual spending on medical transcription is expected to grow from $2.3 billion at present to more than to $4 billion by 2008 (IC, January 2005). ??The acquisition of KGMT will add a revenue of another $10 million to the group. SPI Tech has plans to invest another $50 million in acquisitions in the next couple of years,?? said Peter Maquera, VP Corporate Development, SPI Technologies. ----------------------------------------------------- -------------- What are the realistic opportunities for the medical transcription industry? IT HAS BEEN EIGHT LONG years since the first of India?s medical transcription companies set up shop in Bangalore. From too many fly-by-night companies to a few very serious players, the market has seen it all. But companies like Vennarsoft Technologies and HealthScribe, staying afloat by their careful attention to detail, impeccable quality control, and productivity improvement, have managed to survive the lean years. Venkatesh Babu, chief executive officer of Vennarsoft Technologies, a Bangalore-based medical transcription company, is no stranger to the vagaries of the medical transcription market. He was in for a rude awakening when the product he had designed for the medical transcription market?Stenoscription ?found no takers.?We had entered the market primarily as a product company. However, that was the time when medical transcription companies in India started going bust. But we insured ourselves against this possibility by entering the actual transcription business in a small way,? Babu says. Vennarsoft now counts among its client list 14? Hospitals on the East Coast of the U.S. So what went wrong? Firms entered the market thinking this was a cost-driven opportunity. ?The cost advantage alone would not sustain a company in the long run. Investments in training and quality and productivity improvements over a long time frame were required for success. Moreover, no investments were made in customer acquisition. Those companies that invested in the business for the long term are surviving. The others have had to close shop,? Suresh Nair, chief operating officer of HealthScribe India, points out. ?The biggest problem with many companies here was that they were in it for a fast buck. They considered this just another ?stenography? job. So when the cost advantage did not bring them business, they were ill prepared to scale up. So they had to close,? Babu explains. Changing Sentiments Market volatility has lead to depressing sentiments?a reason why hardly any company has sought an IPO. Apart from a few companies in Mumbai and Hyderabad, none of the 100 odd companies that survived the slowdown has gone public?and for good reason, too. ?When the industry was heralded as a sunrise industry, people weren?t too worried about an exit strategy. And by the time companies started taking losses, the market was too depressed even to consider an IPO,? says Babu. But the sentiment is changing. People are now beginning to realize that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the industry. ?Earlier VCs were wary about funding transcription companies,? Babu explains. ?But now, I have people who have expressed their willingness to invest in my expansion plans. An IPO is certainly something we have in mind. Two or three years from now, we expect enough liquidity to warrant an IPO.? But for now, Babu is content with expanding his business. ?I am looking at acquiring a U.S. company that generates about 100,000 lines of transcription per day. That is perhaps the easiest way for customer acquisition,? he adds. Complexity Most medical transcription companies place a high premium on quality assurance. ?We are working on difficult work types because we have been able to convince our customers of the quality of our process and people,? Nair says. In medical transcription, quality assurance must be an ongoing process. ?If the customer sees good quality on a continual basis he will be willing to trust you with more work regardless of its complexity,? Nair says. All said and done, Nair concedes that U.S. transcription companies enjoy a distinct advantage over Indian outsourcers. ?It is significantly tougher for Indian outsourcers than for companies based in the U.S. When you already have a front-end mechanism in place, the company?s processes are not an issue, as far as potential clients are concerned. All the company has to do to address these concerns is to establish not just the viability but also the quality processes of the Indian wing.? Babu agrees, ?For offshore transcription centers, India offers only a significant cost advantage. But for companies like ours, we had to focus not only on the processes but also in setting up marketing offices in the U.S. And investors are not very keen on funding to set up a sales force. They are more concerned with the technology and the processes.? Babu and Nair hope that brighter days are ahead. But at least, they no longer have to do the groundwork to dispel perceptions that India is not a viable outsourcing destination, as the Indian eCRM companies and software houses have helped to do that. Stringent quality checks and productivity skills are more critical elements that will decide their future survival. Vennar Soft Inc. was telecasted in the series of ITES called IT UTSAV on KAIRALI TV CHANNEL on 20th February 2002 at 10:00pm. Bangalore-based Vennar Soft Inc. has launched state-of-the-art Shorthand Keyboard Computer Aided Transcription SKCAT which increases the speed in the real time medical transcription from 30 to 40 words per minute to 120-140 words per minute. SKCAT is a system of phonetics writing using a compact key board. the machine consists of 23 keys with 21 letter keys, an asterisk key and the number bar. a combination of keys can be depressed in a single stroke. thus, with a single stroke, a syllable, worked, phrase or a sentence is written and is much faster than the conventional QWERTY key board. its technology speeds up production by enabling the transcriptionist in medical transcription to give an output of over 800 to 1,500 lines per day with a high level of accuracy.? Vennar Soft Inc. a company? in India to adopt the 23-keys Electronic Machine Shorthand?for Medical Transcription . This technology, widely used in USA and Canada for transcription has the unique feature of faster writing speeds accompanied by high standards of accuracy, as phonetic stroking is implemented.? Vennar Soft offers extensive in-house training based on the university courses offered in USA. The Training also focuses on medical terminology and comprehension of various accents of physicians in USA. This intensive training equips each transcriptionist to transcribe about 3 to 4 times more then one would on the QWERTY( Computer Key-Board) with 99% accuracy there by increasing their earning capacity. ----------------------------------------

Medical transcription back in the pink

 

Sujata Dutta Sachdeva
[ 27 May, 2006 2355hrs IST TIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

NEW DELHI: It was almost a cottage industry in the 90s, only to lose steam in 2000. But if you thought the medical transcription (MT) industry in India is history, think again. Latest studies reveal that it is raring to take off yet again. And this time, the future is well chalked out.

When it took off in the 90s, anyone with a little space and enterprise opened an unit in their living room.

Unfortunately, the boom didn't last and hit rock bottom in 2001. The reason: Too many entrants, lack of entrepreneurial skills and knowledge of industry and security issues. Many small players opted out.

But since 2004, the sector has slowly but steadily worked its way up. Now, it generates revenues worth $195 million. The figure is expected to go upto $647 million by 2010, according to ValueNotes study.

In fact, the study found that at present, India-based MT vendors employ around 18,000; by 2010, the numbers will go up to 52,000. A Nasscom study released last month too confirms this northward move of the Indian MT industry. It says India has 120 to 150 MT companies which earn an annual income of $220 to $240 million.

The ValueNotes study says that by 2010, work worth $860 million will be offshored globally. "While intense competition has driven out hundreds of small players, several large players are aggressively expanding their capacity through acquisitions.

Courtesy:  The times of India

**********

Max HealthScribe, told the Times of India.

Max HealthScribe alone employs more than 1,000 medical transcriptionists in Bangalore to handle the workload from U.S. health care providers. The company says it can cut a hospital's transcription costs in half.

Nearly all Bay Area hospitals -- including those run by Sutter, Kaiser, UC San Francisco and Stanford -- outsource at least a portion of their transcription work.

 "We outsource all our transcription," said Courtney Conlon, spokeswoman for Seton Medical Center in Daly City.

"If we didn't, we'd probably need eight to 10 full-time employees on staff. It's very cost-effective for us."
Seton, like many health care providers I spoke with, contracts with MedQuist, the nation's largest provider of medical-transcription services. In April, the New Jersey company reported quarterly net income of $10.51 million on revenue of $125 million.

MedQuist employs about 9,000 transcriptionists, most of whom work out of their homes in various parts of the country. More than 1,000 are in California.

Courtesy:  The times of India

Adding colour to work lives

 

How does a fun club and a Chief Fun Officer at your workplace sound? Great and productive, say the employees of HealthScribe, one of India's leading medical transcription companies. Ajita Shashidhar reports.
 
What would be your answer if you were asked to expand the acronym CFO? Chief Finance Officer would be the obvious choice. But here is a CFO who knows nothing about finance. He is the Chief Fun Officer at the Bangalore-based medical transcription company, HealthScribe, who is in charge of its Fun Club. From organising cricket tournaments and cooking competitions to holding an on-the-spot film quiz on the work floor during working hours, the core objective of the Fun Club is to make the work-place livelier by constantly coming up with exciting activities.

"Fun at work is the mantra of our organisation and all our activities are driven by the Fun Club," remarks Prasenjit Ganguly, Vice-President, Human Resources, HealthScribe.

Ganguly says that the idea behind the Fun Club and its various activities is to break the monotony at the work-place. "A transcriptor's job, after a point of time, becomes quite stressful and it is likely that a person may lose enthusiasm to work. Therefore, we decided to work on a `fun at work' concept, by tapping the extra-curricular talents of our employees," he adds.

The employees, says Ganguly, can participate in a variety of activities such as sports, dramatics or oration. The Fun Club has a fun calendar, which has a list of the major activities it plans to organise throughout the year, as well as the weekly list of activities. "We also organise impromptu antaakshari or a film quiz to enliven the work-place," says Ganguly. The Fun Club organises at least one major activity such as a cookery competition or a sports meet, every month.

Apart from sports and dramatics, the club also provides formal training in Hindustani classical music, Carnatic music, Bharatnatyam and yoga. "We have professionals such as Hindustani classical music guru Parameshwar Hegde and the Karnataka State Rajyotsava Award winner for Bharatnatyam, Kalamani Guru C. Radhakrishna, who come to teach our employees," remarks Ganguly.

Apart from this, HealthScribe, remarks Ganguly, also encourages its employees to participate in various corporate meets and festivals. "During the corporate fest, Zestivity, HealthScribe emerged with flying colours in almost all the events by competing with 60 other corporates. We also won the Kingfisher Cricket Corporate Cup by defeating Mphasis by two wickets," says Ganguly.

Courtesy:  The Hindu

The Medical side of Transcription

 

The medical transcription field is picking up again after gong through a boom -and -bust phase in the past few years. A look at the scene now

There are plenty of job opportunities in this field. The pay is commensurate with the output. It can be done as a part time job, and there is the option to work from home. And its nuances can be learnt in a few months .All these combine to make medical transcription an alluring option for G- next

As one of India's fastest growing information Technology enabled services (ITES), it has the potential to change the outlook towards the health sector. Like call centres, insurance claims processing and legal transcription, medical transcription is also an emerging field born out of the fusion of globalisation and 24/7 economy.

English fluency

Fluency in English, logical reasoning and comprehension skills will help one pick up half spoken fragments or even monosyllables and convert them in to complete sensible sentences and make a successful medical transcriptionist.

Despite the trained manpower that India boasts of, there is shortage of people with the requisite skills in the field of medical transcription. This despite the fact that medical transcription made its foray in to India in 1993.

Shortage of hands

Quoting figures from the American Association of Medical Transcription (AAMT) Jose Maannully of EDS Solutions, a medical transcription firm at Kadavanthara in Ernakulam, says that there is a shortage of one-lakh medical transcription personnel in the US.

"The work out sourced amounts to just 4 to 5 % of the total volume. In India, there is shortage of 50,000 trained people. The available manpower is 12,000 he says.

This shows that there is a tremendous potential in the field and that the sky is the limit for job aspirants in India. Unless we grab the golden opportunity, Filipinos, Vietnamese and those from other developing countries will dominate the sector. Sadly the minimum level of learning (MLL) of youths who study in Kerala is very low. Worse still is their knowledge of written English and basic grammar. Ninety five percent of those who clear the test and interview are those who have studied outside the state. Short term or online courses in English may help those who prepare for jobs in call centres but not in medical transcription firms, Jose says

Anoop S.R of WO, Vyttila says it is difficult to teach a person to gain fluency in English. The medical part of the job can be taught.

The demand for medical transcription services is increasing because of the rise in health insurance claims in the US he says.

Complaints in the US and in Europe began to outsource medical transcription because of the high cost of operations there. Medical transcriptionists feed in to the computer the medical history of patients dictated by health specialists in foreign countries and create a file. This is to enable insurance companies there to make payments.

Hirarchy

The hierarchy in most medical transcription firms is as follows: Transcriptionist (who attends the client and enters details in the computer), editor (who goes through the copy), Proof reader (who revises the copy) analyst and production manager

The incentives depend on the number of lines (one line=65 letters) that one types out. The starting salary for a trained medical transcriptionist in Cochin is around 5000/-. It can go up to 30,000/- or even more, depending on the quantity and quality of work. Emergency files are returned within 8 hours and medical transcription firms charge a higher fee for this.

Part time job

The medical transcriptionist job can also be done part time.

The basic thing is that one should be fluent in English. And it would be ideal if I one has basic knowledge of MS office and MS word and have a background in science. Knowledge of American usages helps. People are attracted to this job because after a few months they can do it from home.

Advantage India

India has a time-zone advantage too- it is morning here when it is evening in the United States. Doctors there need to just read out details of their patients at the end of the day. Fast connectivity to Internet is another advantage, thanks to submarine cables entering the country through Kochi and Mumbai

Attrition rates are quiet high in this field since a person with a few years experience commands a high salary in metropolitan cities. Many firms offer free food coupons, incentives and pick up and drop back facility to retain their employees

Courtesy:  The Hindu.

MT: a flexible shift -PUJA S. NAVIN

 

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."

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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.

Nasscom projections

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.

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Marathon recruitment drive by firm

Staff Reporter

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.

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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. TNS