Friday, October 08, 2010

On reduced pay for editing versus transcription

Webmedx pays less for editing "intelligent speech recognition," or ISR, than it does for transcribing the same reports from a voice file. This is not unique in the field; all the major MT companies of which I am aware do the same. But I disagree.

Editing involves listening through an audio file of physician dictation while editing the text file created by the ISR engine. It requires exactly the same knowledge that medical transcription requires, with possibly an increased level of alertness, as at least I find it very easy to "zone out" and miss important errors if I am not the one typing the words myself. The only thing that does not match up with straight transcription is the number of times one's fingers pound the keyboard to produce the same length of typed text file.

The skillset is the same. The experience that makes a good medical transcriptionist is the same experience that makes a good medical editor. The training is the same. Why isn't the pay the same?

Sometime, try saying to your hair stylist, "I have thin hair, so I have fewer hairs than most people, therefore you will not be cutting as much hair, and there will be less wear on your scissors. Please charge me less." See how far that gets you. The same skillset is required. (Possibly even more, because the hairstylist can make even you, with your thinning hair, look just as good as the last person who sat in that chair.) We don't pay for haircuts by weight - as in, 6 ounces of hair ended up on the floor, therefore we pay six dollars, or whatever. We pay for the skills and talents of the hair stylist.

I am not paid by the number of times my fingertips hit the keyboard. Or I should not be. I should be paid for the accuracy of my transcribed or edited reports, paid for the fact that my employer, and hence my employer's client hospitals, can count on any reports that pass across my desk to be accurate and precise, that any errors I find that I cannot legally rectify are brought to their attention to be fixed by someone who can rectify them, that patient care will not be compromised by a sloppy report that will make them look incompetent if it ever ended up read out loud in court.

I know this blog post isn't going to change anything, but I wanted to say it anyway.


Amrita said...

Stopping by to say Hi

Maria Stahl said...

Hey, Sweetie! Nice to "see" you.

Catherine said...

Yes, the pay should be the same. I see your point.

Terri S said...

I think the idea is that you can edit more lines in an hour than you can transcribe, therefore, the lower line rate should be more than offset by the higher production rate. Most managers of transcription companies have never actually DONE transcription, so this would seem like a reasonable concept to them.

However, those of us that actually DO it, know better. It can take MORE time to edit a document than it takes to transcribe it in the first place.

I don't think that transcriptionists will ever be paid for their experience and what they know. The mindset of most of the decision-makers is that it's just typing what you hear.