Prime Minister, David Thompson
Government is repositioning Barbados to become the medical transcription capital of the Caribbean. This was disclosed yesterday by Prime Minister, David Thompson, as he revealed plans to boost training in this area and to woo more businesses desirous of setting up additional facilities here.
He gave this undertaking while addressing the official opening of ACR Business Services Inc. and TRSi (Barbados) Medical Transcription facilities in Building No.2, Harbour Industrial Park, St. Michael.
As an already established services-driven economy and international business centre, Mr. Thompson said the island’s pursuit in this informatics area had been ongoing since the 1990’s.
However, in order to move away from business processing outsourcing services such as call centres, government had to remove the stumbling blocks that had prevented it from moving to the next level – knowledge process outsourcing – more commonly known as transcription.
“We met that challenge by establishing a Medical Transcription Training Centre (MTTC) – a significant investment in Barbados’ future. We are proud to say that nearly all of its first 112 graduates are employed in these two facilities today.
“We anticipate that our competitive environment, combined with the introduction of new technologies, will open doors for Barbados to garner its fair market share of this industry,” Mr. Thompson assured.
Outlining the importance of a robust medical transcription industry to the economy, the Prime Minister said the industry not only generated foreign direct investment, foreign exchange earnings and employment of locals, but, there was also potential for the development of what he described as a “cottage industry” of medical transcriptionists here.
In addition, Mr. Thompson said medical transcription training coupled with the necessary technological enhancements as required by North American insurance companies for processing health claims, would be an asset in the marketing of medical tourism in Barbados.
It would also assist the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the wider medical fraternity to improve their record keeping, while at the same time, transforming the operations to an electronic format.
“I wish to assure you that, notwithstanding the tough prevailing economic conditions globally, government will continue to improve our physical infrastructure, and more importantly, we will continue to develop our most valuable resource – our people – not only for the medical transcription field, but also for other industries.”
Apart from medical transcription, the Prime Minister also alluded to other business ventures on the horizon. “We will work to introduce other rapidly emerging niche industries that offer higher-value such as knowledge-based business opportunities, back-office processing, and the life science industry which includes biotechnology, pharmaceutical and research and development activities. We are already in negotiations with several investors in these areas,” Mr. Thompson noted.
Giving a global outlook on the economic potential of the medical transcription industry, he said the US Bureau of Labour statistics reported that the employment of medical transcriptionists was projected to grow by 14 percent during the period of 2006 and 2016. Another study showed that medical transcription outsourcing to India, generated US $195 million, and that revenue was expected to balloon to US $647 million by 2010.
In Asia, Mr. Thompson said the head of the Medical Transcription Industry Association reported that the industry currently had a workforce of 10,000 and there were plans afoot to increase it to 32,000 by next year.
“In Barbados, we have only just begun, but in addition to the 112 graduates, we are continuing to train more at the MTTC facility. Currently, there are over 250 students in training using day, evening and online classes to facilitate further expansion of this industry,” he said.