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Outsourcing Transcription to Offshore Providers – Key to Reducing Healthcare Costs?

Outsourcing Transcription to Offshore Providers – Key to Reducing Healthcare Costs?

Outsourcing medical transcription work to offshore service providers has proven extremely effective in reducing overall transcription costs of individual health practitioners, clinics and hospitals. Organizations who outsource their work to offshore transcription providers save anywhere from 40 to 70 percent of the cost compared to doing the transcription in-house, or utilizing U.S.-based medical transcriptionists.

The other important advantage is that aside from the cost savings, there is the important aspect of a significant increase in quality of transcribed work because of the multiple editing and quality assurance steps built into the processes of offshore transcription providers, unlike U.S.-based individual transcriptionists which are primarily one-person operations. With outsourced transcription, you have an entire transcription organization servicing your needs: transcriptionists, editors, quality assurance specialists, efficient organizational processes.

The cost savings are possible because of the availability of highly-skilled, low cost medical graduates in prominent outsourcing destinations such as India and the Philippines. Based on a salary survey report for medical transcriptionists conducted by Payscale, the median salary for hospital-based medical transcriptionists is around $31,287 per annum, or approximately $2,600 per month.   In contrast, the average salary of a medical transcripionist in the Philippines, based on an online salary survey conducted by Jobstreet, the leading online job portal of the Philippines, is a maximum of $280 per month! This is 89 percent cheaper compared to the salaries of their U.S. counterparts. Even if you factor in the supporting quality check personnel, Philippine-based service providers still offer significant savings compared to U.S.-based transcriptionists. To illustrate:

  • A Philippine-based transcriptionist earns $280 per month
  • The support costs (salaries of editors, quality assurance specialists, admin, office costs, utilities) are more or less equivalent to effectively $300 per transcriptionist
  • Assume that the medical transcription service organization marks up by around 30%, therefore, you add another $174 per transcriptionist per month representing profits of the service organization.
  • Combine the three items and you get a figure of $754 per transcriptionist per month cost, significantly lower versus U.S.-based costs.
  • Compare this $754 per transcriptionist per month cost for outsourced transcription with the $2,600 per month salary of U.S.-based medical transcriptionists, and you get savings of $1,846 per transcriptionist per month, or 71 percent in potential savings!

The forecast U.S. medical transcription spending in 2010 is around $16.8 billion. Currently, only 40 percent of U.S. transcription work is outsourced to offshore providers. Outsourcing the remaining 60 percent transcription work to offshore providers represents a significant cost savings opportunity. Outsourcing this remaining 60 percent of the work to offshore providers, therefore, represent possible savings equivalent to $6.2 billion per year ($16.8 billion x balance 60% outsourced x 60% cost saving). Outsourcing transcription work, therefore, is a significant opportunity for reducing U.S. healthcare costs.