ASC, Transcription Services

Are Transcription Services Introducing Friction into Your ASC Workflows?

By Erik Sunset, January 5, 2023 - 4 min read


ASC Transcription Services May Not Be Optimized for Surgery Center Workflows and Revenue Cycles

ASC transcription services haven’t evolved much in the 120+ years that medical transcription as we know it has existed. Though it did not begin this way, medical transcription now serves the purpose of helping the surgeon stay less involved with some of the administrative aspects of their practice and more focused on what matters most: their patients.

Unfortunately for surgeons and surgery centers, there are several steps in this antiquated process that can introduce friction and frustration for all stakeholders. If you’re not already familiar, see below for the general process that happens with surgery center transcription services:

  1. The surgeon dictates their notes and findings after the procedure into a recording device or calls the phone number for their transcription service to leave a recording on a voicemail box.
  2. The medical transcription company processes the file and transcribes the dictated note.
  3. The typed out note is then shared back to the surgeon either via secure email, a digital drop box, or it is added the patient’s chart.
  4. The provider must then review the transcribed note and revert to the transcription service any edits or additions that are needed. If no edits are needed, the surgeon must then approve (sign off) on the operative report.
  5. Once approved, the op report must then be manually sent to the surgeon’s clinic, their billing team, and added to the patient's chart at the surgery center

With multiple points for failure and built in time delays, it’s clear that the medical transcription process is not optimized for surgery centers. Here are a few key areas where, if you’re an ASC with outsourced transcription, you are experiencing unnecessary friction.

Waiting to Approve Transcriptions Slows Down Your Revenue Cycle

One of the key friction points surgery centers encounter with transcription services directly impacts their revenue cycle and their speed to cash. Even though the average turnaround time for medical transcription companies is relatively short at 24-72 hours, this lag builds in an automatic 1 day delay into the process of submitting the claim to insurance for reimbursement.

Pair this lag with the reality that surgeons are not always perfect at finalizing their operative reports and you’re (unfortunately) creating a reality where your claims can bump into timely filing deadlines and result in a write off. This timely filing outcome most often surfaces at facilities where surgeons are at the ASC once every few weeks or longer and the chore of finalizing op reports isn’t the highest priority.

The only way to avoid this trap is for surgeons to have the power to dictate and finalize their operative report at the point of care using the most convenient device possible- generally their phone or tablet.

Surgery Center Transcription Services Create Extra Effort for Surgeons and Staff

This friction point is plain and simple. If you’re using outsourced transcription services and adhering to the Joint Commission guidelines on immediate post operative notes, or IPONs, you are creating extra effort for your surgeons.

The dictation of the operative report will be out to the transcription company and the surgeon still needs to create a progress note that “must be immediately entered after the procedure to provide pertinent information to the next provider of care.”

However, a completed operative report that is generated at the point of care, satisfies this requirement without any extra effort from the surgeon!

Ambulatory Surgery Centers Can Do Better Than Transcription Services

Dictating op notes and waiting for the transcription to come back is the old way of generating operative reports. Not only is the transcription process outdated, it builds a lag into the ASC’s revenue cycle and mandates extra effort for Surgeons to generate a separate IPON.

ASCs that are positioned for success moving into the future are adopting technologies like our Op Note Solution that allow their surgeons to instantly dictate, review, and sign off on their op reports at the point of care.

If you’d like to try DocBuddy Op Note for free for 15 days, click through to fill out this form.