A recent Becker’s article authored by Jessica Kim Cohen highlights the Politico analysis by assistant editor Danny Vinik that explores the rise of “alternative work arrangements” that are having a major impact on the conventional workforce of America. These work arrangements have reduced full-time employment positions “by as much as 400,000 workers between 2005 – 2015”. In the industry of outsourced medical transcription, this trend has been prevalent as health-care employers continue to look for ways to offset increased costs and manage changes in staffing level requirements as technologies such as EHR templates and front-end speech recognition gain traction. However, as the Politico analysis details the decision made by UPMC to outsource transcription services to Nuance, even the best intended employer plans to create “alternative work arrangements” for their employees don’t always match up to the employee’s expectations; resulting in a negative situation for both the employer and the vendor in its aftermath.
Employers want the best of both worlds when outsourcing transcription. Decreased departmental costs and aggressive ROI’s are expected along with improved technology and service performance from the vendor. When the decision to outsource transcription includes a tenured group of professional medical language specialists, the carrying charge of the hospital’s benefits package is something that no competitive transcription outsourcing company can match while meeting the financial outsourcing ROI objectives of the employer. This is often where the onboarding process breaks down if the employer and new vendor do not communicate the new “alternative work arrangements” in a clear and realistic manner. As referenced in the analyzed UPMC case, tenured employees often transition from a guaranteed hourly rate to a pay rate based on production. Individual pro forma comparisons are an easy way to compare current hourly pay rates with expected production pay rates. In addition to comparing projected production pay rates, employer HR departments should be involved to prepare individual benefit package comparisons between the new vendor and the employer. In many cases, an effective bridge package can be developed that assists the impacted employee in transitioning to the new vendor. However, the onboarded employee must understand that these bridge packages are short-term (typically 60-90 days) and are designed to offset production decreases due to training and adaptation to new technology and platforms. Once the bridge package has expired, the employee will be considered completely onboarded to the new vendor. It is therefore important to provide these tenured employees with realistic expectations based on their current job performance.
During the period of 2012-2015, Med-Scribe’s U.S. staff of medical language specialists has increased 22%. Approximately 63% of this increase has been a result of successful onboarding and retention of medical language specialists onboarded from new clients outsourcing for the first time. MedScribe’s retention of these U.S. employees is due in part to offering competitive production rates for traditional medical transcription and back-end speech editing combined with an industry-rich benefits package and a 401K retirement plan with company matching. In addition, Med-Scribe’s onboarding success can also be contributed to careful planning and Med-Scribe’s customized onboarding procedures used to ensure realistic expectations are in place allowing the onboarded employee to be successful and find a new home at Med-Scribe. We understand that our success depends on the retention of our workforce and that employee turnover must be minimized to maintain Med-Scribe’s continued growth.