Lowered Standards Increase Patient Risk


Dale Kivi, with For The Record Magazine, recently published an important article entitled Hey AHIMA, Stop Lowering Your Standards.  Kivi brings needed attention to a problem in our industry with large transcription services vendors not abiding by the quality standards approved by both AHIMA and AHDI in 2010.  These standards were jointly revised in 2017.  Kivi knows a thing or two about the standards and their importance as he was a member of the original committee that drafted and approved them.

"Unfortunately, a few powerful transcription service vendors choose alternative measuring and reporting metrics. They ignore critical AHIMA quality factors in favor of self-created methods that better serve their business processes and profit margins. Yet, given the size and strength of their respective organizations, you know their self-developed approaches certainly seem impressive, provided you don’t take the time to directly compare them against the AHIMA standards."

Opti-Script's Quality Manager, Sandy Kovacs, wasn't surprised to hear how quality reviews are being conducted.  "If the facilities that use M-Modal or Nuance would actually review the documents and charge them a penalty for poor quality, I think they would either start hiring MTs again to either work at home or in their facility or look for another service. M-Modal and Nuance should stick with technology and let companies like ours do the excellent quality work that we are known for and have delivered."

To be clear, it's not that AHIMA or AHDI as organizations have lowered the official quality recommendations/standards.  Rather, members of these organizations that are aware of the standards just aren't holding their transcription vendors accountable.  

If we were just talking about the quality standards for fast-food hamburgers, that would be one thing, but this in an industry where patient lives are at stake.  Poor quality documents with critical errors will cost patients their lives.  They can't afford the cost of lower quality documents.

"So what can you do about it? There are only two choices. Accept these lowered standards or insist all future contracts incorporate the AHIMA Healthcare Documentation Quality Assessment and Management Best Practices with meaningful penalties for non-compliance. Some industry participants have always incorporated such references into their contracts. What quality standards will you accept in yours?" 


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