Normally the charges are 10 to 15 cents a line, a cost we can’t touch here in the US for the same.  In case of an emergency, the cost is 300 time that amount if done in the US.  India was one of the fore runners in this business, but now faces challenges from the Philippines.  The office mentioned here is open 24/7 and imagewith the high level of unemployed nurses in the Philippines, nurses are doing the work.  Many hospitals here in the US already have a vast number of Filipino nurses working in the states. 

A nurse in the Philippines can look forward to earning $6000.00 a year, compared to the US where the same job would be 5 times or better.  With converting paper charts to electronic medical records, the articles from the Times states there’s a ton of material to last for quite a number of years to be transcribed.  It also says the outsourcing should not hurt the US market for transcriptions services, but of late I have spoken to a few who say they can’t compete with the pricing, so where US transcription services go for business, are they limited to only the emergency type of services?

Also with speech recognition, this also stands to take up some of the slack with some hospitals having speech recognition doing most of the work and perhaps a few proof readers instead of large number of transcribers.   Nuance, for example has a varied level of different products to meet the needs of hospitals as well as the small practice. 

Medical Transcription Jobs Not Recession Proof – Speech Recognition and Some Outsourcing Moving In

The link above relates to a recent post about a transcriptionist who lost her position recently in Long Beach, California.  In addition to the Philippines there are several other countries entering the outsourcing market for transcription services.  BD  image

In a startling illustration of the life-or-death decisions involving low-paid workers thousands of miles away in today's globalized world, Americans' most personal details move 24 hours a day as U.S. healthcare providers outsource billions of lines of transcription work each year to offices across Asia in a bid to cut the massive cost of medical bureaucracy.
"It's a cyberspace miracle every time it's done," said Fred J. Kumetz, a Beverly Hills lawyer who founded and runs EData Services, one of the biggest companies transcribing U.S. medical records in the Philippines.

Regardless of the price, the process is largely the same. Audio files dispatched across the Internet are transcribed and the text is fired back to the U.S. to meet government demands for a shift to electronic medical records.

Now thousands of low-paid workers in countries such as India, the Philippines and Pakistan work in offices that never close, churning out massive amounts of U.S. medical records.

"Outsourcing is unavoidable, because the cost in the U.S. is just too high," Herrera said. Filipinos can beat Indians in the race for medical transcription work from the U.S. because, as a former American colony, the Philippines is more familiar with American accents, Herrera said. This country also has a vast pool of jobless medical workers who need little additional training to take dictation from American doctors, he said.

EData's Manila office never closes, and the video camera watching over scores of Filipinos working at computer terminals 24/7 never blinks. It's connected to the Internet so American clients can peep in on the operation whenever they want.

India takes the largest share of outsourced U.S. medical transcription work. But it faces growing competition from the Philippines, Pakistan and Caribbean countries as American doctors, hospitals and insurers come under increasing pressure to reduce the cost of keeping records.

Americans' medical files go digital, by way of Asia - Los Angeles Times

Related Reading:

Nuance Previews Enterprise Workstation Version 8 at HIMSS
Medical Transcription Jobs Not Recession Proof – Speech Recognition and Some Outsourcing Moving In
Nuance RadCube - New Business Intelligence for Radiology Announced..
Nuance Paying 35 Million for the Acquisition of Zi – Canada
U.S. Military Embraces Nuance's Dragon NaturallySpeaking Medical to Drive Clinical Documentation with AHLTA
Nuance and IBM to license and integrate speech technologies
Nuance to Acquire as a service...
Nuance takes over Philips Speech Recognition Systems
More Than 70,000 Healthcare Providers Use Dragon Medical for Voice-Driven Clinical Documentation


  1. Good post. Do you think speech recognition will ever replace humans for this task though?

  2. Eventually it will, keeps getting better all the time. I know several MDs who use it and do well. There will always be times for human interventions too.


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