The State of MyMT – April 2016

debbie cartoon

I missed my April 1 date of re-evaluating MyMT.  I've been swamped buried.  So, here we go a few days late.

In January 2016, I wrote, "The Year Anew - MyMT in 2016" and announced that I would be re-evaluating the continuation of MyMT in April 2016.  The article is a great summary of what I want to achieve with MyMT.  Did I meet those goals?  Well, certainly not in membership.  MyMT receives a few new members, a few cancellations each month that seem to be rather equal.  Here is what I DID receive, however, and the thing that keeps me desiring to continue.  I received many emails from people, paying and non-paying members alike, commenting that what we are doing here is making a difference, that what we have to do is a lengthy journey, that we have started the conversations and moved some bulky things into action.  I would agree with that.

I think we are making a difference and to quit now?  Maybe we quit right before we get to the good stuff, and that would be a shame.  It would potentially stop many of the valuable conversations we are having and the message we are sending in so many ways that affect our industry and the work we do.  I DO think we are making a difference.  I DO wish more of you would participate.

Recently, I received this email, and it encapsulates so many of our frustrations, but reflects that there is some movement:

"Hi Debbie,  I was thinking about you the other night and took a look to see if you were still doing the web page, etc. I remember an email from you saying you were throwing in the towel, but I was curious to see if that was the case. I saw a link to your LinkedIn page...hope you don't mind that I had a look..and saw something about captioning? You too? I am very close to a decision about captioning school. If you are going that route I'd love to talk to you again. I'm still working FT for xxxx and now PT IC for xxxx. xxxx is not great money, of course, but they have been awesome to work with so far. Very, very by the book and professional. Their recruiter has strongly hinted to me that some change may finally be coming. I know, too little too late, but there are rumblings all over. Docs and clients completely fed up and onto the scam, campaigning on wage reform platform, people at various state DOLs supposedly saying they're getting more and more complaints from MTs and it's becoming a "hot issue." Of course, you probably know more than I do, but just thought I'd pass it on. Sorry if you're just sick of hearing it! But at xxxxxx, wow. They are getting hundreds of pages of faxed complaints from clients a week -- that is, hundreds from individual clients -- having emergency board meetings with clients, having their international work audited -- and not doing a thing so far to improve quality. I do "fill in the blanks only" QA on reports that are going to the client loaded with gibberish. And sample files of reports that have also gone to the client would set your hair on fire. How could that possibly continue?? Well, I'll leave you with an SR beauty I got last night: "The patient needs help navigating vomit care." Couldn't have said it better myself. Anyway, I hope you're on to bigger and better things. You've certainly got the drive to make it work. Best of luck and drop me a line if you feel like it."

The sender encapsulated so nicely here the things we continue to fight, that we might be waking things up, a great sense of humor, and some references to the things we are all so tired of addressing.

I remain disappointed with the participation aspect of MyMT.  There could be so much value in more members, providing feedback, and interacting with one another in the many areas, but I cannot force that.  Those who cancel continue to usually say, "I am not using the site, or I am not "getting" this or that or I can't afford it, being the most frequent reply."  But, what did they contribute?  Usually nothing.  In the past, my social media experts have wanted me to view the thing from a "how-to-make-money" perspective.  Yet, I have remained steadfast to not go after the money before the purpose, and it seems these two things are somewhat contradictory in providing me with something better here financially.  It is a different mission then, "How can I make this site make money," and I'm not willing to do that.  The mission has to remain with integrity.  I have to do what is right in my heart, and if that angers people, they will not join, and that will cost me money.  So be it.  How could I craft MyMT to do the very thing that I am challenging in our industry?  Money making at all costs.  Nah.  That is, if you take your pulse on a thing that matters to your heart, if you set out to poke the bear, you're going to run up against resistance, which is contrary to "how can I make money?"  I often see Mr Wonderful on Shark Tank address this.  He just wants to make money and is resistant to the entrepreneur who has a touchy feely product and mission, one who is unwilling to offshore manufacturing for a better profit, for example.  I continue to notice that I am giving back something useful, while needing to take care of my own self financially.

I am encouraged by some recent collaboration with AHDI where I have felt there was a wall there, in the past.  I have been working with Sherry Doggett on providing some additions to the Quality Assurance Toolkit to include some of the things I've been harping about - getting to root cause and stopping the "count-the-MT-errors" focus on this.  Our leaders there included me on a conversation they were having with The Joint Commission, and I was grateful to be part of that conversation.  A recent Board Meeting was held about a conversation with a JC agent at a recent conference, and I need to reconnect with Linda Brady about that.  I think that AHDI has done some good work.  I think that what I have been frustrated with is that their work and tools do not get out to the greater MT world.  While many leaders insist that some are using appropriate QA processes or implementing useful speech technology, I maintain these things are NOT widely appreciated and used and that most of us are working inside of very crummy situations, for lack of a better word to describe the entirety of it.  My vision is that The Joint Commission will finally adopt the standards we have been promoting that will give AHDI the leverage to promote, dare we say enforce, the good ideas they develop, but I also think there is some huge PR stuff there that needs a huge overhaul!  All in all, though, progress!  I have been VERY critical of this organization, and I appreciate that they are still talking to me 🙂

So.  The final answer is MyMT will continue for now.  My new job affords me some financial stability that I don't have to rely on from the time I spend on MyMT.  In doing so, I will ask you all once again, "What can YOU give to our industry to help us improve the situation we are in, as opposed to adopting a victim mentality of how persecuted we are for having gotten here?"  I believe this is our way out.  Are we frustrated?  Oh, you are talking to the Queen of Frustration.  I also recognize that we have to change the conversation in order to change the game.  I don't believe we get there by bashing the EMR, VR, or the scribe industry or playing the blame game.  You know, that "poor us" thing.  All those big bad industries ruining us.  Guys, we MUST see ourselves as the solution, so how are we going to improve those processes? How are we going to insert ourselves into the place that has us contributing to those conversations?  What are we going to do about it?  How are WE going to get into the game?   Uhhhm, aren't we coining ourselves as the healthcare documentation experts?

Will you join me in improving our industry?  Don't know how?

Read "Please Participate" here.

9 Comments

  1. mcherm - April 7, 2016, 7:04 am

    As I sit wringing my hands from coming back from a day “off” due to stomach virus and finding all kind of happy, happy/joy, joy at work, I keep coming back to the same thing. The physicians are not aware of what is going on behind closed doors. Money is always going to talk, but we are noticing more and more e-mails regarding how the physicians aren’t happy. MTs can talk until they are blue in the face and tell them what the problem is, but if you’re not willing to listen to it, it continues to be a pass the buck issue, right down to the ones who are complaining the loudest. At this moment, I think I had a better day with a stomach virus than what I came back to today. I’m such a team player, but I have to say, I’m about ready to retire my jersey. Until the physicians really see and understand what is going on, I feel like it’s just a dirty little secret, and as long as the big companies can say it’s all us, I don’t see any change. I agree with the poster above that it would be great to start getting some physician participation. Your work with MyMT is greatly appreciated because you represent a voice that most of us just don’t have. Keep up the good work and keep motivating us and giving us hope that maybe something can change where we can get back to the business at hand!!!!!

  2. Debbie - April 5, 2016, 7:01 am

    You are too kind, Marsha. That’s all 🙂 Yes, I know this requires the patience of Job. Sometimes I feel like just finding myself in a more pleasant environment, but I just listen to my heart and here is where it is for now. Some days it is no 🙂

  3. Debbie - April 5, 2016, 7:00 am

    I keep banging on The Joint Commission. The doctors may care about this, but how to organize a voice there? I don’t see an opportunity to do that. The Joint Commission would provide some enforcement to standards. That would just be a game changer, IMO. I think everything else is a shot in the dark. I think things like, “getting the public involved, getting the doctors on board” sound like nice ideas, but think further thru the process. If we can’t convince the very organization that accredits our healthcare institutions, how could we organize and convince these other entities? IMO, we harp on TJC for how long? Until.

  4. Marsha Johnson - April 5, 2016, 3:11 am

    Wow Debbie, you are like Job in the Bible – “having the patience of Job”…. Thank you so much for continuing MyMT – at least for now. Whatever I can do to help contribute by advocating integrity to being an MT or being a voice in the medical transcription world, I will GLADLY do! I too have, on many of occasions, considered ‘abandoning’ the medical transcription world, but I realized that’s not the way to do it. As many opportunities that have come your way, the time YOU have put into being our voices and trying to make changes for ME as a transcriptionist, there’s NO WAY I should abandon it!! Thank you once again for being a trail blazer in standing up for us, being a ‘mover and a shaker’ in this industry and fighting for what’s right!

  5. Kathy Bainter - April 4, 2016, 7:41 pm

    Hi, Debbie: Like all of us who utilize the resources you provide us, I am grateful for all your efforts. What we do is unique and has its own set of problems, and it’s nice to have someone who understands that.

    Having been in this business for over 30 years, I wonder sometimes how your efforts could be forwarded by getting some physicians on board. In my experience, it’s the docs that call the shots. If they are not happy, nobody is happy, and I have actually heard of uproars by the physicians (clients, if you will) where their objections and refusal to accept poor quality actually changed the manner in which the transcription was done (no off shore, no speech recognition). So maybe it’s time to get some physicians tuned in? What we do does impact patient care and ultimately it is the physician who must sign off on the documentation. So next to the patient, it is the physician who reaps the benefits of properly-done documentation and information. They might be more interested in “carrying our flag” than we thought.

    Just an idea, and again, I do appreciate all you have done. I’m glad to hear you’re not throwing in the towel just yet.

  6. Debbie - April 4, 2016, 7:15 pm

    Thanks for commenting, Jay. You always do, and I appreciate it. Can’t wait to hear our your CQA initiave goes. I’m reviewing one of the documents (the adoption guide) with Sherry right now. I’m struggling with it 🙂

  7. Debbie - April 4, 2016, 7:13 pm

    Lillian! Oh no. I bet M and P are not happy. I know they worked hard to find us a nice home/transition, but I found out quickly it was not a fit for me and I know they were already seeing some things they weren’t happy about. Well, I think they tried. So nice to hear from you! That was, hands down, MY favorite company I have ever worked for in transcription. I will email you in the next few days and let you know my thoughts. Thanks for checking it!

  8. Lillian Shelley - April 4, 2016, 4:58 pm

    Hey Debbie – I am writing to let you know how glad I am that you will continue MyMT for now. After XXX company sold out and the new company lost most of the accounts, and also had trouble paying their MTs, I started working in an MD’s office. I lasted one year longer than I expected, but then my patience gave out completely. I am no looking for a good company to go back to working at home (good luck to me, right??). You are quite an inspiration to me so keep it up. If you have any suggestions, please send me an email.

  9. Jay Vance, CMT, CHP, AHDI-F - April 4, 2016, 8:55 am

    Debbie, I’m very glad to hear that you are going to continue to fight the good fight. There’s no question that the profession needs people like you who are not satisfied with the status quo and are willing to poke some sacred cows in order to advocate for change.

    I agree with your observation that we are slowly making progress at AHDI with regard to acknowledging and advocating for reforms in the way quality measure are identified, tracked, and utilized to address root causes rather than simply correct errors and scold the MT. We have plans in the works to update both our QA Best Practices and Dictation Best Practices toolkits to address this need. On a personal note, I thought you might be interested to know that at WahlScribe, the healthcare documentation services provider at which I am now Vice President of Operations, we will be implementing what I’m calling Comprehensive Quality Assessment, or CQA. This will be a process which addresses many of the issues you have been calling attention to, particularly the identifying of root causes of errors wherever they may originate: dictating provider, technology, workflow, HDS, training, account specifics, templates, etc. It is our intention to prove the concept of CQA as a viable, cost-effective next iteration of QA, which will benefit clients, service providers, HDSs, and patients. We hope we will be able to quantify the results of this initiative and present the findings in a white paper. So even though I know sometimes it seemed like you were a voice crying in the wilderness, your efforts have not been in vain. Best wishes for the future of MyMT!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*