Archive for the ‘Transcription Industry’ Category

MTIA / CDIA – The End of an Era

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

The Clinical Documentation Industry Association (CDIA), formerly known as the Medical Transcription Industry Alliance (MTIA) has formally announced that they have ceased operations.  After many years of service to the medical transcription industry the CDIA / MTIA organization has conceded that it must close it’s doors, citing external factors relating to the contraction and consolidation of the medical transcription industry in  recent years and the financial ramifications of those transformations.

The past several decades has been characterized by significant industry consolidation fueled by mergers and acquisitions within the ranks of medical transcription service organizations.  These consolidations have helped the industry in some ways by allowing for economies of scale, resulting in a healthier, albeit smaller, group of growth oriented employers. However, with the consolidation of MTSO’s, the medical transcription industry has become less nimble and has clearly suffered the loss of some of the entrepreneurial dynamism that has allowed the industry to adapt to an ever changing technological and regulatory landscape. One of the other obvious casualties of this tsunami of consolidation unfortunately, was the Clinical Documentation Industry Association (CDIA) which has experienced a rapidly shrinking membership base as MTSO’s have merged and consolidated operations.

This is a regrettable announcement in light of the fact that the CDIA / MTIA has provided many years of forward thinking leadership and training to the industry. Additionally, it has provided valuable lobbying efforts on behalf of medical transcription service organizations as well as to medical transcription practitioners worldwide.

The industry will certainly move forward.  However, we will also miss attending the annual CDIA convention and expo with its insightful workshops, training, and networking opportunities.  We express our sincere appreciation to all those who were involved in providing these industry services over the years.  Their tireless efforts will be missed.  Below is a full transcript of the announcement posted by CDIA:

Dear CDIA Members and Supporters,

The Clinical Documentation Industry Association (CDIA) has weathered many financial challenges over the past few years from the significant contraction in the marketplace and overall unhealthy economic conditions. In response, we rebranded the association to expand our reach beyond medical transcription, editing, voice, and speech recognition to encompass every touch point in the clinical documentation continuum. Our flagship event, the CDIA Annual Conference, had broadened the educational program to bring together these complementary audiences.

Unfortunately, the external factors have become too strong for the association to overcome and this is why we are writing to you today. On behalf of the CDIA Board of Directors, we regret to inform you that the association is closing and the annual conference planned for April 2012 in Baltimore, MD has been cancelled.

This has been a very difficult decision that the Board did not take lightly. The association’s finances could no longer sustain the organization to serve the members and support the annual conference. Over the next several weeks, CDIA representatives will be winding down the association and information will be sent regarding recent payments made to the association.

Thank you for your support of CDIA and participation in the association. We encourage you to continue to promote the spirit of CDIA’s mission, values, and advocacy platform as you continue your involvement in other associations, including the Health Story Project ( and AHDI (


The Clinical Documentation Industry Association

The QWERTY Keyboard Sham: Taking Inefficiency to New Heights

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

By:  Christopher Dunn

Did you ever wonder how the ubiquitous qwerty keyboard configuration came into being?  For those not familiar with the term, Q-W-E-R-T-Y refers to the six alpha keys on the left side of the top lettered row of the standard keyboard. Coincidentally, these keys spell “QWERTY”, which, of course, has no specific meaning other than what has become a favorite reference to this specific keyboard layout. Over the years the term QWERTY has evolved into a shorthand descriptor of the most popular international keyboard layout of all time.

If you’re like most people, you undoubtedly assume that sometime in the distant past, a group of highly paid efficiency experts were corralled into a room and forced to come up with the most brilliant and efficient keyboard arrangement possible.  Surely the individuals would have been charged with the task of developing a keyboard configuration for the ages – one that would promise to yield absolutely the fastest keystrokes with the minimum amount of stress.

Guess again.  The qwerty keyboard design was actually a far less noble effort and has a much more insidious history than that.

A Short History of the Mechanical Typewriter

The mechanical typewriter certainly represented one of the most important inventions of its time.  It played a key role in ushering in a new and unrivaled age of enlightenment and information sharing.  Nevertheless, the invention of the manual mechanical typewriter in 1868 came with its own unique set of problems and challenges. Among the most notable of these problems related to the propensity of the mechanical character arms to frequently jam.

The earliest versions of the mechanical typewriter had characters which were mounted on metal arms. As the typewriter keys were depressed, the downward force of the typist’s fingers would cause the metal arms to swing forward and strike the back of an ink ribbon and impress the characters onto a sheet of paper which was inserted firmly into a mechanical roller.

The jamming problem was exacerbated when two or more keys were struck in rapid succession.  Unfortunately, the fastest typists tended to get ahead of the swinging action of the arms causing frequent jams and resulting in errors that were difficult and time consuming to fix. In fact, the fastest typists ended up spending most of their time untangling metal swing arms and fixing errors resulting from mechanical mistypes.  It just didn’t pay to type too rapidly.

Development of the QWERTY Solution

Consequently, the QWERTY keyboard arrangement was designed specifically to solve this jamming problem.  The QWERTY keyboard was designed by Christopher Latham Sholes in the 1870’s – just a few short years after the first mechanical typewriters came off the production line. The final version of the Qwerty keyboard came about through a great deal of trial and error in an attempt to overcome what was the most pressing problem of the new typing device: the jamming problem.  It was discovered that by arranging the keys in such a way as to reduce the possibility of typing keys in rapid succession, enough inefficiency could be created in the typing process to circumvent the problem of tangling the metal mechanical character arms. Problem solved. Unfortunately, the burden of inefficiency rested squarely on the shoulders of typists who suffered a tremendous loss of productivity, incurred measurable additional stress, and were plagued by serious physical maladies such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

QWERTY:  The Most Inefficient Keyboard Layout Possible

1.  The ten most frequently typed letters in English language literature are in order: E, T, A, O, I, N, S, H, R, and D.   Of the eight home keys of a traditional QWERTY keyboard – that is, the keys where the fingers rest and spend most of their time – only three of the top ten letters are represented:  A, S, and D.  The other seven of the top ten most common letters require a reach up or down from the home keys to strike the key.

2.  What is more, the three “common” letters (A,S, and D) that are found on the home row of keys are located to the far left side of the keyboard. That is to say, they must be typed by the middle, ring, and little (pinky) fingers of the LEFT hand.  Most people are right handed. By forcing typists to type the most commonly encountered letters by either reaching or by using the least dexterous fingers of their weakest hand, the QWERTY keyboard all but guarantees the most painful, tedious and slow typing experience possible.

Hope for Change?

So why are we still clinging to a keyboard arrangement that is hopelessly outdated, completely irrelevant, and in every way counterproductive to speed and efficiency in an age of computers and high speed printers?  Could it be the same reason the United States refuses to embrace the more efficient and intuitive metric system?  Perhaps we are simply too entrenched and invested in an inferior system.  Maybe we perceive that a change of this magnitude would be too costly or chaotic. Possibly we simply lack the foresight or the will to change.  Whatever the reasons, it appears the QWERTY keyboard will be with us for the duration. As they say, it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks…

The Future of Medical Transcription and Medical Transcription Jobs

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

There has been a lot of talk lately about the future of medical transcription. As the trends of off-shoring and voice recognition pick up steam and threaten to displace traditional jobs in the US, what is to become of the profession? It is a logical question. The reality is that MT jobs continue to enjoy high demand in the marketplace. In fact, they are a critical component of the most stable and rapidly growing segment of our economy. Healthcare! As the global economic recession deepens, healthcare may prove to be one of the only resilient segments of the US economy over the next 4 or 5 years.

Every day it seems that there are new announcements of bankruptcies and layoffs affecting tens of thousands of people. When was the last time you heard about mass layoffs in the healthcare industry? You don’t and you never will – at least not for the next several decades as the baby boom population blossoms into full retirement and demands an extraordinary volume of healthcare services. The interesting thing to note – and a fact not readily discussed by many in the medical transcription industry is that the average age of active practicing transcriptionists is somewhere in the mid 40’s. That is the average. This means that a very large portion of the active MT population is poised to retire and exit the industry in the next 5 – 10 years.

Guess what? Those jobs don’t just go away. All of those positions will need to be replaced. What is more, these seasoned practitioners are among the most productive asset the industry has. They produce an output of medical reports that is sometimes 2 to 4 times the average production for new graduates who are just entering the career field. This means that the industry will need not ONE, but possibly two or three new recent graduates to fill EACH of these positions.This spells job opportunity for prospective new students considering entering this fast growing medical transcription career field.

Unfortunately, it could also spell disaster for the healthcare industry if it doesn’t begin to take steps now to attract new talent into the industry. Some of this problem has already begun to materialize and regardless of what your opinion is on offshoring, the offshore production of some of the domestic US transcription workload has saved the industry and bought some precious time to find a more permanent solution to the acute personnel deficit. However, it will not continue to mitigate the deficit in the US market indefinitely. Vacant jobs will have to be filled as older MT’s retire and exit the industry.

Voice recognition has also played a role in mitigating the MT personnel deficit. And while voice recognition technology is finding a place in the industry, it’s role thus far has been to augment the transcription process by giving transcriptionists a new and more favorable starting point for production. It has in no way delivered the silver bullet MT replacement that some have been hailing for decades now. What we are seeing and what we will continue to see as the adoption of the technology accelerates, is that the role of a growing subset of the MT community will be transformed. The work of transcripionists in the future will increasingly be that of medical language editor; beginning with a document that has been processed through a speech recognition software engine.

But in the end, the anticipated surge of baby boom retirees will simply be too large to ignore. It is a problem that requires a serious and relatively immediate solution. What is more, the aging population consumes an exponentially large portion of available care services and resources. Which means, that as the aging population swells over the next decade, every facet of the healthcare industry will be strained. Medical records jobs will increase in both volume and importance over the next decade. Individuals who are adaptable and capable of stepping into new roles as the industry continues to morph will benefit substantially by training now for entry into this fast growing and rapidly changing industry.

After 20 Years MTIA Opts for Name Change

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Following the lead of the organization formerly known as the AAMT – American Association for Medical Transcription – (now the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity – AHDI), the Medical Transcription Industry Association ( MTIA) quietly but officially changed it’s name in 2010. The newly branded organization will now be known as the Clinical Documentation Industry Association (CDIA).  According to a spokesperson, the new name more accurately reflects the organizations expanded scope and role and positions the organization to add value to its members as the healthcare documentation industry morphs from a traditional medical transcription industry to a healthcare documentation production and management industry.

The newly named and repurposed organization will continue to be a strong proponent of the traditional clinical narrative.  However, it also intends to position itself to respond to the recent trends in healthcare documentation such as the electronic health record (EHR) and other health information documentation and delivery tools.  The integration of these new documentation options with the traditional narrative will likely be a primary focus for the organization and the industry for many years to come.

Boomer Retirement Impact on Medical Transcription and the Health Care Industry

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Medical transcription has been under siege by off-shoring and technology advances for the last several decades. However, there is a perfect storm brewing — and it is just now beginning to arrive at our shores. Just when the pundits were ready to give up on the medical transcription industry, the tidal wave of baby boom retirees is officially upon us. The baby boom generation has typically been defined as individuals born in the United States between 1946 and 1964. In the years following World War II, the United States experienced a sharp increase in births. This high birth rate trend continued relatively unabated for almost two decades. After 1964, there was a precipitous drop off in the birth rate.  The following 20 years brought about a baby bust with relatively few babies born by comparison.  This sharp generational contrast in birth rates has much to do with the hype surrounding the baby boom generation.  There are a lot of reasons that the baby boom generation matters. Demographically, boomers make up a significant and influential portion of the population. Perhaps most importantly, the earliest baby boomers are now reaching retirement age.  In 2011, those born in 1946 will turn 65 and begin to usher in a new era of social and economic upheaval that will sweep over the country like a tsunami.

No where will the impact of the retiring boomer generation be felt more acutely than in the health care arena.  Health care and medicare resources, currently operating at full capacity, will feel the additional strain and burden of increasingly large waves of elderly retirees over the next two decades.  Shortages of trained nurses, physicians, allied health professionals, medical transcriptionists and medical coders, will create both problems and opportunities.  Problems will arise as the population competes for increasingly scarce health care resources.  Opportunities will present themselves for individuals willing to get the training needed to enter the exploding health care field.  Both the problems and the opportunities will be magnified by the fact that many individuals who are currently practicing in the health professions are themselves part of the boomer retiring generation!  As these seasoned health practitioners exit the health care industry en masse, wages will rise and the expenses of caring for the aging population will increase exponentially.  Get ready!

Accentus Acquires 2 US-Based Companies Becoming One of the Largest Medical Document … –

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Accentus Inc. a leading provider of Integrated Medical Document Management Solutions to the Canadian healthcare industry today announced the acquisition of two US-based transcription companies; Florida-based ZyloMed, a leading provider of medical … >> Medical Transcription >>

Medical transcription India is affordable – Zimbio

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Medical transcription India is affordable – Zimbio
Medical transcription India has become a major business alternative as it is one sector which is constantly growing due to the vast and quick progress made by the medical and health care industry. A number of medical and health care institutions turn to …

Acadiana Technical College expands training – Alexandria Daily Town Talk

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Acadiana Technical College expands training – Alexandria Daily Town Talk
LAFAYETTE — Acadiana Technical College is expanding its online training options in the high-demand fields of medical transcription and medical billing and coding. Both programs will be available online through a partnership with Career Step, an online …

Acadiana Technical College expands training – Alexandria Daily Town Talk

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

LAFAYETTE — Acadiana Technical College is expanding its online training options in the high-demand fields of medical transcription and medical billing and coding. Both programs will be available online through a partnership with Career Step, an online … >> Transcription >>

Acadiana Technical College expands training – Alexandria Daily Town Talk

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Acadiana Technical College expands training – Alexandria Daily Town Talk
LAFAYETTE — Acadiana Technical College is expanding its online training options in the high-demand fields of medical transcription and medical billing and coding. Both programs will be available online through a partnership with Career Step, an online …