Two-cent transcription savings costs hospital 140 million

Update: Nov 5th, 2013

By Laura Naumann

From my other articles I’m sure you know how I feel about the trend of outsourcing transcription services to overseas companies. It’s the same way I feel about voice recognition software. There is no excuse for sacrificing patient safety just to save money.  Medical records demand accuracy. Too often overseas workers are undertrained and underpaid with little direct supervision. Quality assurance monitoring is a necessity when it comes to complicated medical jargon where often the difference of one letter can entirely change a word’s meaning.  I predicted that as these medical reports found their way into patients’ charts there could be dire consequences and I just came across the first example of how much overseas outsourcing could end up costing hospitals and other medical facilities dearly.

On December 12, 2012 an Alabama hospital was ordered to pay 140 million for the wrongful death of Sharron Juno.  Ms. Juno received a fatal medication overdose that was directly linked to a medical transcription error where the dose was incorrectly transcribed as 80mg instead of 8mg. The same medical record was noted to contain two more critical transcription errors.  Testimony at trial revealed that outsourced reports were not reviewed before becoming part of the patient record and that these unreviewed reports were often used to prepare discharge orders, which is how the medication transcription error ended up costing Ms. Juno her life. It also came out that Thomas Hospital had approved outsourcing medical transcription services to Indian workers in order to save 2 cents per typewritten line.

Here’s a link if you want to read the whole story   Sadly I believe this is just the first of many cases to come.

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