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The Quality Assessment Process of Medical Transcription

Everyone in medical transcription agrees quality assessment is important; however, achieving it is neither simple nor painless. Sometimes it’s downright controversial. Understanding the process from both sides can help you navigate it more smoothly.

There are numerous ways of saying that quality matters. Here are some quality-related terms you’re likely to come across:

  • Quality assurance (QA): A process put in place to ensure that reports returned to the client are accurately transcribed.

  • Quality assessment or review (QA or QR): Examination of a particular MT’s completed reports to assess work quality.

  • Quality assessment/review score (QAS or QRS): A numeric score assigned to an MT that indicates accuracy rate (for example, 98 percent).

  • Quality assurance/assessment/review editor (QAE, QRE, or just QE): The person who performs the quality assessment or review.

The QA process is overseen by senior medical transcriptionists, who fill in blanks others medical transcriptionists couldn’t, check submitted reports for accuracy and proper formatting, and make corrections. They also may assign grades to individual medical transcriptionists.

There are three ways a report can end up in QA:

  • A medical transcriptionist with a problematic report can route it through a QA editor for help. This is called putting the report “on hold” for QA.

  • All work from a particular medical transcriptionist or for a specific client account can automatically be routed through QA.

  • Many companies perform random QA audits on an ongoing basis. Periodically (for example, monthly), a sampling of the medical transcriptionist’s transcribed reports are spot-checked.

A newly hired medical transcriptionist can expect to be put on 100 percent QA at first. That means every single report is put “on hold” for review by a QE before it is released to the client. When the QE is confident that the new medical transcriptionist is consistently achieving accurate and properly formatted reports, the medical transcriptionist is taken off 100 percent QA.

Making it through the break-in period and graduating from full QA is an accomplishment to be proud of. Going forward, your reports will go to QA only if you send them there, or as part of a random audit. To ensure ongoing quality, many employers conduct periodic assessments of medical transcription work. Periodically, a random sample of reports will be pulled, inspected, and assigned a quality score.

The scores of all the reports in the sample are averaged together to come up with an overall score. medical transcriptionists who exceed a target threshold (for example, 98 percent) sometimes receive a pay bonus; those who fall below may face line rate deduction and/or be put back on more regular QA.

The QA process varies widely among transcription employers. Some are more methodical about it than others. Some assign formal QA scores using a preset scoring framework; others simply mark reports with corrections and return them to the medical transcriptionist for review.

Some factor QA scores into pay calculations; others simply draw a line in the sand: Be on the right side of it within a specified period of time or be gone.

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