Choosing the best medical transcription software depends primarily on the needs of the transcriptionist. Programs come with a wide array of features and in varying levels of complexity. Software should also comply with all laws and regulations connected to healthcare-related information. It is also advisable to determine the compatibility requirements of clients before purchasing a program.
One of the most important features of medical transcription software is that it is compliant with local regulations for the communication of healthcare-related information. For example, in the United States of America, patients are protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This act of congress ensures patients a certain standard of privacy via standardized methods of securing health information. There are also national standards of health information communication that must be followed. A transcriptionist may need to purchase software that is compliant with regulations such as these in order to stay in business.
There is a wide array of features available in medical transcription software. Overall they are geared towards helping the transcriptionist complete projects as quickly as possible while maintaining accuracy, as many workers in this field are paid by the hour. Programs vary in the way they capture, process, and organize sound files.
Software with the word expander feature can help to speed up the typing process. It recognizes words within the first few key strokes and fills in the rest of the letters. The transcriptionist begins entering common terms to be used in the document, and then each time the transcriptionist begins to type, the program fills in the word. Word expanders work with abbreviations as well as full terms.
Medical transcription software may also be programmed to capture sound in several ways. Most programs accept different types of digital files such as those downloaded from file transfer protocol (FTP), data stick, or compact disc. Other programs may use voice capture technology to pull the audio from outside sources such as voice messaging.
Another type of medical transcription software uses speech recognition technology to transfer sound to text. Many programs also insert punctuation. While this kind of software can handle most of the transcription project, it is still important for the transcriptionist to check the full text for accuracy. It is likely that at least some punctuation will need to be added as well.
There is also software available for medical transcriptionists in training. A typical program will guide the user through both learning the process of transcribing efficiently and developing a strong medical term vocabulary. Most products provide opportunities for guided practice in a wide array of medical record formats as well.