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Medical Transcription Australia

The Australian Healthcare System

Australia laws that came into effect in November 2012 state the following “From 1 November 2012, only medical practitioners, certain dental practitioners (for specified services), and registered medical radiation practitioners will be able to perform diagnostic imaging procedures for all diagnostic radiology services listed in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), excluding mammography.”. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/di-factsheet-di


In layman terms, what this means is that practically all radiology images in Australia (sans remote rural areas) are legally required to be interpreted only by accredited Radiologists. According to the Australia Department of Health statistics, the number of medical images conducted over the last 7 years can be seen in Table 1. In the year 2016-2017, over 23 million medical images were recorded with yearly growth consistent throughout the board.


Medical Transcription in Australia


Most radiology specialists in Australia rely on using a mix of self-transcription, in-house transcriptionists, local off-site transcriptionists as other 3rd party transcriptions. The advance in technology also led to some adopting Speech-To-Text Dictation as a means of reporting on images. Each of these have their own pitfalls which will be described.



As stated, a radiologist is required by Australian law to report on any medical image. The number of images taken far exceeds the number of accredited radiologists in Australia, leading to situations where medical procedures are delayed, and huge backlogs occur.


Radiologists are paid by Medicare Australia by the number and type of reports they produce. Their main financial incentive is to produce as many reports as quickly as they can, while maintaining accuracy in the reports.


Self-transcribing reports is very time consuming for a radiologist, whose primary role is diagnosis and not administrative. It has been shown that they would much rather dictate a report and have another party type out the report. This frees the radiologist to focus on their primary role, and thus churn out more reports.


In-house Transcriptionists

In-house transcriptionists in Australia typically consists of the staff, namely nurses, administrative personnel and receptionists type reports from dictations when they are not occupied in their primary role.


As these personnel are not formally transcription trained, and indeed some are not even medically trained, and they typically do not have a qualified full-time transcription supervisor overseeing transcription operations, quality and accuracy of reports varies. It is worth noting that these personnel are not hired to do typing of reports and as such, the value of their typing is not reflective of the salaries they receive. These personnel are paid more for their primary roles but end up doing jobs of lesser value to the company. Of course, the number of reports that can be completed by in-house transcriptionists is also limited.


It is also worth noting that as some medical procedures cannot be carried out without a diagnosis of medical images, patient care suffers. Even an Accident & Emergency patient cannot legally be treated if a medical image is not reported on. With In-house transcriptionist availability being questionable, there ends up having situations where the acceptable turn-around time is missed.


Local Transcription Companies

There have been several attempts to set up local Australian transcription companies. However, the high cost of doing business in Australia, and the lack of skilled and dedicated manpower results in these companies hiring housewives and students to transcribe reports on a part-time basis.


This model has been soundly rejected by the medical community as reliability is not assured and quality of work has always been proven to be far below acceptable levels.


3rd Party Transcription Companies

Initially, India dominated the global medical transcription industry, but for various reasons, they lost their lead to the Philippines.


Anodoctal evidence from radiologists stated that while costs were acceptable, quality of work and accuracy in transcribing did not meet the standards required. This led to the radiologists having to edit each report and detracted from their main duties. The situation got so bad as to have some radiologists to cancel the contracts with the Indian companies and revert to self or in-house transcribing.



SMART OFFSHORING Medical Transcription

At the behest of Australia’s top radiologist, Smart Offshoring was set up to address these issues. By integrating with the leading PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System), Smart Offshoring is able to seamlessly access client images for reporting.


The Philippines was selected to base the bulk of manpower due to the strong command of English, the number of medically qualified personnel available and relatively low cost of labour. The transcription team started out with 10 MTs (Medical Transcriptionists) and the number quickly grew to 20 within a month. Since then, more than 140 MTs have been hired by Smart Offshoring.



By utilizing IT to facilitate access to client systems & manage transactions, high productivity was achieved. Data mining and expert systems were also written to check on quality of work and flag potential errors. A formal training methodology was set in place to train MTs in each level and staff career progression was also formalized.



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5 Essential Qualities to Look for in an Offshore Executive Assistant

Hiring an assistant to help you manage your business is one of the best ways to leverage your sales. When you hand over the day-to-day administrative tasks, you delegate the time-consuming, complicated and often frustrating part of your job to someone who may be better qualified than you to create office systems. When you hire the right person, you get to focus on what you do best – building relationships, generating leads, and closing sales. This is why it’s critical that you take the time to recruit a capable and competent person who is going to help you increase your productivity and ease your stress.

Here are 5 essential qualities you should look for in an assistant:

Excellent organizational skills. This is important if you want to spend less of your time sorting papers, organizing files and maintaining social media feeds. Look for this quality to keep the back end of your business in order. At the interview stage, be sure to ask questions that get candidates to talk about their experience with organizing office systems and how they have previously juggled multiple tasks under deadlines.

Excellent communication skills. Seek someone with natural verbal and written communication skills. As one of the faces of your business, your assistant should project an image of professionalism and customer service at all times. During the interview, ask scenario-based questions to uncover how they would respond to conflict with a client.

Attitude. One of the most important traits of a high performing assistant is a “can-do” attitude and passion for the job. With the right attitude, your assistant faces challenges with optimism and proactive problem solving. A friendly attitude makes a positive impression on your clientele and your business. During the interview, observe their enthusiasm about the job opportunity. Get them to share why they are truly excited about this particular job and what they can contribute to the position. They should be engaging and personable. Candidates who have this quality exude a feeling of aliveness that is contagious to their colleagues and clients.

Self-starter. When you have someone who is motivated and takes initiative, you can leave the office with confidence and peace of mind. Your assistant can take care of business without having to be micromanaged. In fact, they are not only doing the work but constantly thinking of what else they could be doing to promote your business. Get your candidates to describe jobs and accomplishments where they’ve worked independently and with minimal supervision.

Skill set. Of course, be sure to recruit someone who can do the core responsibilities of the job and meet the performance standards you expect. Good computer skills, familiarity of database systems, technological and social media savvy, and most importantly, a desire to learn and grow in the industry are all important core skills and attributes. While the resume will usually outline some of the core skills, be sure to ask for specific examples of how they have demonstrated the skills in previous jobs.


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Do’s and Don’ts of Outsourcing

As an entrepreneur sets out on his/her journey, one of the first things that needs to fall in place is the team. But in the initial stages when the business is bootstrapped, it’s not possible to hire full time employees who look into the various departments required for the functionality of the startup. In such a scenario, start-ups often turn to third party services or freelancer who can execute these operations for them.

It’s a trend

It’s not just a trend amongst startups but for the ease of it big brand names from IBM to American express are also following the same trend. None of these companies have support staff of their own, they outsource all the services like IT and Office support. Yet it is difficult to find out who is from the outside and who is a member of the staff, but the fact is on an average 40 percent of their staff in any business unit is outsourced.

The Services Needed

But when you are hiring a third party service provider, you are entrusting them to take on your start-up journey with you without leaving any room for error. Every tiny operational detail, however small it maybe, holds importance in a start-up and cannot be ignored.

So, what should an entrepreneur know before hiring a third party service?

Clarity of Engagement

While a lot of start-ups turn to third party service providers for the smooth functioning of their business, it is essential to check that the provider actually understands what it takes to be working with a start-up. That is why clarity of engagement is important while interacting with a third party service provider. The founder has to ensure that the provider too understands his/her vision for the startup.  When you are signing a third party service provider don’t just think about fast implementation but also the quality of the work being done.

While partnering with the third party provider, it’s also necessary to have a vision of where you want to go. A service is what differentiates one player from its competitor in today’s market and leads to its making or breaking. While outsourcing may cut down your costs and bring down turnaround time, it is important to have a long term view while deciding which service to outsource and which not to. Non-core services might become a source of sustained competitive advantage tomorrow and outsourcing the same might prove otherwise by leading to decreased quality standards, sluggish response times coupled by slow issue resolutions and so on.

Keep the Timeline in Mind

Understand the Legal Aspect

A third party service provider often comes from a founder’s circle of friends and acquaintances. However, even then a founder should understand the legal aspect of the contract. A lot of entrepreneurs are working on revolutionary technological products and so it becomes important for them to protect their IP. Signing a legal agreement is necessary while outsourcing your work. A third party could misuse your work and that’s why it’s important to sign a NDA with all aspects covered in detail– involving the smallest of technical aspects to cover all loopholes. These are the logical things that entrepreneurs often miss but shouldn’t.

Do Not Share Complete Control

The authority of the outsourced product should lie with the founder or the start-up. While it’s important to gain the trust of the third party service provider, yet you can’t leave an outsourced hire in complete control of your product. Check with them from time to time so that they know you have the final word on things. Also, don’t outsource for a short while and think you will manage it yourself in the future. Instead focus on other aspects of your business.

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Transurban Outsources for better service

Transurban Group General Manager Queensland, Wes Ballantine announced up to 100 redundancies saying: “This absolutely has been done for customer service improvement, not cost reduction.’’

The vast majority of the redundancies would be voluntary, he said.

Transurban’s toll networks in Sydney and Melbourne have been using the Philippines call centre, operated by Salmat, since 2010.

The company said about 50 call centre staff would be retained at its Eight Mile Plains base in Brisbane to handle complex or ‘’escalated’’ calls.



transurban CEO Scott Charlton 2

The number of outlets where drivers can pay tolls or buy tags will increase from 400 to 950, with the addition of 7-Eleven and other service stations.

“The community experience is that people have questions — people question tolls, people have a right to be able to talk to someone in person about these matters.’’

Transurban paid the state-government-owned Queensland Investment Corporation $7 billion for the tolling rights to the Gateway and Logan motorways, CLEM7 tunnel, Go-Between Bridge and the yet-to-open Legacy Way tunnel.

Original Source: Transurban to offshore call centre staff after cutting 100 Brisbane jobs


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Compare Outsourcing v Offshoring


One of the most commonly misunderstood aspects of the global supply chain is the difference between offshoring and outsourcing. A surprisingly large proportion of the general public confuse these terms. But they are distinct concepts.

Outsourcing refers to an organization contracting work out to a 3rd party, while offshoring refers to getting work done in a different country, usually to leverage cost advantages. It’s possible to outsource work but not offshore it; for example, hiring an outside law firm to review contracts instead of maintaining an in-house staff of lawyers. It is also possible to offshore work but not outsource it; for example, a Dell customer service center in India to serve American clients.

Offshoring is defined as the movement of a business process done at a company in one country to the same or another company in another, different country.

Almost always work is moved because of a lower cost of operations in the new location. More recently, offshoring drivers also include access to qualified personnel abroad, in particular in technical professions, and increasing speed to market.

Source – Forbes/Wikipedia

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