Is your MTSO prepared to grow and prosper from a technological perspective?   With healthcare technology and regulations constantly evolving, there are new business considerations to evaluate along with basic dictation, speech rec and transcription efficiency.  Are you prepared to answer prospect questions on Vendor Neutral Architecture, cyber insurance, minimum encryption standards and data center security?  MTSOs need cost savings and efficiency; here’s how to achieve both in today’s increasingly regulated and competitive world of clinical documentation.

Does your technology provider have inhouse expertise for HL7, FHIR and flat file patient demographic downloads?  MTSOs without access to interoperability experts face a sales hurdle with new customers.  Finding proficient healthcare integrators is challenging and expensive; think excellent career path for your offspring.  Arrendale’s integration team includes inhouse interface experts who are adept at modifying our inbound and outbound messages to match the customer’s EHR protocol, saving time, effort and expense.  This vendor neutral architecture (VNA) and wealth of EHR interoperability experience means your project will be thoroughly tested and completed quickly.  Extracting patient metadata daily from a scheduling system or EHR avoids HL7 complexity and is a strategic cost savings alternative for physician practices.  Patient metadata spreadsheets can then be securely transferred to the MTSO’s platform, benefitting both customers and MTSOs.  Your MTSO technology partner should be able to share instructions and assist.

Does your dictation, speech rec and transcription provider utilize a state of the art data center? Beware of ‘server in the closet’ scenarios that don’t include necessary backups, virus protection and redundancy.  Downtime is painful, embarrassing and costly for you and your customers.  Your data center should be externally audited and certified yearly with redundant utilities.  Access to the data center computer room should require multi-factor identification which includes: a. what you have (i.e. a security token), b. who you are (fingerprint or eye scan ID) and c. what you know (user ID and password). Arrendale uses industry leader Flexential (www.flexential.com) and their centers are further protected with fire suppression systems, leak detection, temperature and humidity controls plus video monitoring.

What type of software support do you receive?  Healthcare documentation is a 24 by 7 by 365 business.  You need to be able to reach a technician promptly who will diagnose and solve your issue expeditiously.  Arrendale’s staff is one hundred percent US-based and welcomes telephone support inquiries. Does your vendor supply a toll-free number at all or are you restricted to email and chat for support? Does your technology provider utilize an email ticketing system with support issue notifications up to and including ticket closure?  Diligent platform companies including Arrendale use automated, proactive server monitoring to prevent most hardware and software issues, one of many measures to avoid downtime.  Because patient care is our business, Arrendale delivers round the clock support with rapid response times during standard business hours plus evening and weekend coverage.

Is your platform’s mobile dictation app just a digital recorder replacement, or does it enable transcript viewing, editing and eSign on the device?  The Arrendale Mobile+ app includes transcript viewing, editing, eSigning and even ‘send to QA’ functionality for both Android and Apple users.  Providers are no longer tied to landline telephones for dictation or to desktop PCs to review their notes.  Dictators find it an advantage to be able to review notes, edit and esign from an iPad or Android tablet from the comfort of their couch in the evening.  Expensive digital recorders don’t offer anything close.  Arrendale’s app is color coded to remind dictators when one of today’s patients has not had a dictation based on the incoming demographic feed.  Elimination of the listening and answering of traditional telephone dictation prompts, greater voice file clarity and encryption make mobile apps a Win Win Win for customers, MTSOs and their technology partners.  Providing a multifunctional mobile app gives your MTSO an advantage.

Does your current platform provider possess cyber, data loss and ransomware insurance?  Such insurance cannot just be tacked on to your general liability or professional errors and omissions policies.  Most insurance companies don’t offer cyber, data loss and ransomware coverage while health systems, hospitals and physician practices are now requiring this additional and expensive coverage in their vendor contracts.  A niche group of insurance companies write specialized policies to those businesses that successfully ‘pass’ the detailed application process.  You will need to answer an in depth questionnaire about how many patient records you store, what type of records you store and the specific methods (encryption, server locations, backups, firewall) by which patient data is secured.  Arrendale Associates has been covered for cyber, data loss and ransomware since 2016.

What kind of backend speech recognition does your platform provider offer?  And is the speech rec fee affordable while also being easy to implement?  Backend speech recognition allows MTSOs to lower their prices and stay competitive.  There are more options for speech recognition today with impressive results.  If you’ve avoided speech rec because you did not want to purchase from a competitor, then Arrendale has a solution for you.  After selling our transcription service business in 2018, we implemented a new speech rec solution while lowering the cost per line.

How recently has your technology partner upgraded their firewall?  Hackers and thieves are constantly coding new harmful schemes to penetrate firewalls.  The older the firewall, the more easily hackers with malicious code will be successful and gain access to your system and your customers’ data.    Has your technology provider invested in new firewall technology, both hardware and software?  At minimum Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128, 192 or 256-bit encryption should be used.

Is your MTSO paying big bucks for expensive T1 lines? One of the best reasons to work with a platform company is to bundle your technology expenses.  Many will be surprised at the savings when servers, software and telephone long distance are supplied by the same vendor.   16 khz smart phone apps and USB mikes deliver dictation clarity, which improves speech recognition accuracy. These dictation options are growing while 8 khz landline telephone dictation is shrinking, making the static cost for T1 telephone lines increasingly painful.  Is it time to consider replacing your current dictation offering if your MTSO is paying large telephony invoices each month?

Is using MS Word as your word processing platform acceptable from an encryption standpoint?  Are the notes that your MTs create stored on each desktop in Microsoft Word?  If so, are they encrypted?  The operating systems of Microsoft Office 2007 and higher provide strong encryption; earlier operating systems used weaker technology and are not considered secure today. However, using the Microsoft Office-provided security password protection encryption is a manual process for each transcript.  You can create a password for each note, but it is time consuming for your staff.  We’re now seeing healthcare facility contracts with clauses that require a secure encryption method.  This is a key point and part of any risk analysis within the clinical documentation community.

Call 800.344.1323 to learn more about the topics above. Make sure your MTSO is able to meet the growing demands of today’s physician practices, hospitals, RFPs and legal departments.  Let us explain the benefits of an MTSO business partnership with Arrendale.  You’ll appreciate the technology, software platform and support while being pleasantly surprised at the affordability.