New Transcription model to improve service, save millions for health authorities and patients

VANCOUVER, December 1, 2011 — Four major BC health providers are redesigning their varied transcription departments to jointly improve service delivery and save over $3 million annually in taxpayer dollars that can be redirected to patient care.
The proposal to outsource the service completely – put forward by Fraser Health (FH), Providence Health Care (PHC), Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) and Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) – is the latest in a series of successful activities to find efficiencies in non-clinical and clinical-support areas within the Lower Mainland Consolidation (LMC) initiative.

To date, LMC is yielding its participating health authorities up to $55 million in annual savings through consolidated, standardized service models in 11 areas. These include information technology, support services, facilities management and health information management.

As part of providing care, physicians often dictate (voice record) the outcomes of a patient's visit. Transcription services staff listen-to and type this recorded information into electronic documents, which become part of a patient's medical records.

“Currently, there are different computer systems, standards and processes for delivering transcription services at each of the four health organizations, resulting in inefficiencies and inconsistent service,” said Dianne Doyle, President & CEO of Providence Health Care, the organization leading the implementation process.

Discussions are currently underway with unions to identify opportunities for efficiencies within existing resources. Pending the outcome of these negotiations, a potential RFP (request for proposal) would invite solutions and proposals from external vendors.

“Use of external transcription vendors is common across Canada. If we do move to a completely outsourced service model, we would be looking for a Canadian alternate service provider – one external vendor – that can provide the right combination of people and technological resources to meet all our complex and changing transcription needs.”

Doyle added that the current transcription systems do not leverage the latest in speech recognition technology and result in higher costs associated with multiple maintenance contracts.

“All LMC initiatives have their unique challenges and opportunities, requiring specific solutions,” said Doyle. “Using an alternate service provider has been identified as an excellent potential option for transcription services. Our goals are to ensure excellent patient care and quality, provide value for taxpayers, and ensure the highest standards for privacy and confidentiality are met. There will be no negative impact to patient care or the way physicians access and receive transcription services.”

“Despite significant funding increases from the provincial government over the last few years, demand for health care services continues to grow,” said Doyle.  “In order to protect the quality and accessibility of direct patient care services, we must be vigilant in finding solutions, savings and efficiencies where possible without impacting patient care.”

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Shaf Hussain
Communications & Public Affairs
Providence Health Care
Tel: 604-312-3547