By JADE LOPEZ, Reporter
WHILE the Philippines, especially Cebu, continues to be a magnet for business process outsourcing companies worldwide, the medical transcription business however is beginning to experience an industry setback.
Mawit Go, chief marketing officer of Northern Transcription Works (NTW), a company which pioneered the medical transcription industry in Cebu noted the industry has now hit a “snag” with the lack of aggressive promotion on top of the peso’s volatility against the US dollar.
“The volatility of the local currency, especially in 2007-2008 has really made Philippine-based medical transcription providers uncompetitive against other countries like India,” Go said in an interview recently.
She recalled that in her promotional trips abroad, while attending exhibitions for medical transcription market, Go observed that Indians are very aggressive in selling this particular service to clinics and hospitals in the US.
“Filipinos, on the other hand, are largely dependent their marketing-hold of US-based middlemen that will market the services for them,” Go added.
Citing an industry study, she said the Philippines is only getting 10 percent of the estimated US$12 billion medical transcription market in the US. India captures 75 percent, while the rest of offshore services go to China and other cheaper locations.
She underscored that the lack of aggressiveness among stakeholders to help market the country’s medical transcription industry to health clinics and hospitals abroad, such as those in the US, Canada, and Europe, has resulted to some small scale medical transcription service providers to either diversify their business or close shop.
NTW, for instance, has opted to expand its services to other transcription channels, apart from medical transcription.
The company now accepts jobs from other backroom outsourcing services like voice data/voice mail transcription, legal, financial, and recently it does jobs for documentary transcription for Discovery Channel.
Go said that while only 20 percent of the company’s entire operation is dedicated to medical transcription, NTW has maintained a long-term deal to service 10 big clinics in the US for this particular job.
Go and her partners started the first medical transcription school in Cebu called International School for Medical Transcription (ISMT) a few years back.
Today, ISMT has become an in-house training school for NTW, instead of operating as a commercial school for medical transcriptionists.
Medical transcription outsourcing service is the process of converting voice dictation, typically either cassette or digital forms, into a permanent written record utilizing word processing equipment and software.