Medical & Transcription Services


Medical transcription (MT) is the manual processing of voice reports dictated by physicians and other healthcare professionals into text format.

Healthcare providers voice-record their notes and transcriptionists convert the voice files to text, typically in digital format. Electronic data is increasingly required for compliance with Health IT and electronic health record (EHR) initiatives. Voice streaming is sometimes used so voice files can reach the MT department for immediate transcription. Transcription was first used in the manufacturing industry. The first process that used transcription was Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP), introduced in 1975. The medical field adopted transcription after the transition to electric typewriters, word processors and, especially, computers. Speech recognition is reducing the need for manual transcription but speech recognition software is still not accurate enough to replace a human transcriptionist.

Market Report

According to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research, "Medical Transcription Services Market (History and Physical Report, Discharge Summary, Operative Note or Report, Consultation Report and Others & MT Outsourcing and Off shoring) - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2013 - 2019," the global medical transcription services market was valued at USD 41.4 million in 2012 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.6% from 2013 to 2019, to reach an estimated value of USD 60.6 million in 2019. It is expected that the global market for CONSULT reports will reach USD 21.1 million with the market growing at a CAGR of 3.3% from 2013 to 2019. Earlier H&P reports were made only for hospitalized patients and patients undergoing treatment which involved several visits to specific clinics or hospitals but currently H&P reports are made for both inpatients as well as outpatients to reduce the risk of reimbursement issues. This has increased the share of H&P reports in the overall medical transcription services market.

Three Major Trends in Medical Transcription

Medical transcription is getting increasingly competitive and is emerging as one of the fastest growing sectors in healthcare industry. The sector has witnessed great advancements in technology aimed at meeting client demands with greater accuracy and timeliness. The US Bureau of Labour Statistics reports that this sector is expected to grow 11% by 2018. They also predict the growing importance of the role of medical transcriptionists in the coming future with employment opportunities for these professionals predicted to grow by 6 percent between 2010 and 2020. Healthcare facilities are always looking for alternate options and innovative techniques that improve efficiency and care while cutting costs. For example, speed-typing programs, one of the latest innovations, foresee the next few words to be typed based on the first few letters typed by the transcriptionist.

The Future

Here are three major trends that will impact the medical transcription scenario in the years to come: Speech Recognition Software, Electronic Health Records (EHR), and Outsourcing.

Career Outlook

Employment of medical transcriptionists is about to grow about as fast as the average as other positions and fields. It is estimated that employment will grow by 11 percent from 2008 to 2018, and demand for these types of services will be driven primarily because of the growing aging population that relies on healthcare services. There will be a continued need for the production of electronic documents, and transcriptionists may need to adapt to new technologies and software programs, including speech recognition systems. Many companies overseas are looking to contract out a good portion of their projects and transcriptionists will need to use various types of web-based programs and software to remit their reports.

While some healthcare organizations and doctors are already using speech recognition software to create their reports, these are rarely 100 percent accurate and require some editing and reorganization. This is where a medical transcriptionist can still use their skills. They can correct errors, edit information and reorganize data as needed. Projections data for employed medical transcriptionists is 105,000 as of 2008 and 116,000 by 2018. The majority currently work in medical and diagnostic laboratories, general medical and surgical hospitals, outpatient care centres, physicians' offices and by providing business support services.