Medical Transcription: Possible Problems with Quality Assessment

Quality assessment is an important part of medical transcription work. As reasonable as the pursuit of perfection sounds, in practice, the quality assessment (QA) process can get pretty bumpy. By and large, new medical transcriptionists are very thankful that someone (QA) has their back, but it’s not always smooth sailing.

The quality editor and the medical transcriptionist, both of whom are striving to do their jobs well and quickly, can end up butting heads over what should be counted as an error or how serious an error really is. It’s unfortunate, because their ultimate goal is the same: accurate and clear medical reports produced in a timely fashion.

Understanding what the QA process is like from both perspectives will put you in a much better position to handle either side of the process you find yourself on.

From the perspective of the medical transcriptionist undergoing QA:

  • Nobody enjoys receiving criticism, and the line between feedback and criticism can be pretty fuzzy.

  • Time spent reviewing QA feedback is unpaid time, as is any time not spent actively transcribing.

  • In some cases, an error is clearly obvious to both sides, but many times what is considered an error can seem arbitrary or unreasonably petty. The latter can quickly lead to hard feelings — as in, are we in this together or is it me vs. you?

  • The medical transcriptionist is most likely trying very hard to do the best job possible. The QA process can feel like a method of punishment rather than a tool for improvement.

From the QA editor’s perspective:

  • QA is responsible for preventing mistakes from reaching the client; it’s better to err on the side of caution.

  • Like other medical transcriptionists, most quality editors also are paid on production. It takes a lot more time to “teach” someone than it does to just make corrections. In addition, filling in blanks that seem unwarranted and fixing what appear to be basic mistakes takes time (and can get on a person’s nerves).

  • A QE’s job is to identify and address errors. If a QE isn’t finding any (everyone knows there are occasional mistakes because nobody is perfect), then the QE’s own job performance may be questioned.

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