- Mayo Clinic has offered buyout packages to as many as 400 medical transciptionists, Becker’s Hospital Review reported.
- The transcriptionists have until May 19 to decide if they will take the separation package, which was offered at Mayo Clinic’s three main campuses, according to the publication.
- The offer comes as Mayo Clinic is transitioning to Epic’s EHR, which includes a voice transcribing application developed by natural language processing technology firm Nuance Communications. The new EHR is replacing three different EHRs that previously operated across Mayo Clinic’s 20 hospitals, Healthcare Informatics reported.
EHR implementation began last summer with Mayo Clinic Health System Wisconsin, followed by the Minnesota Health System in the fall, according to an Epic spokesperson. Mayo Clinic Rochester goes live early next month, and the process wraps up with the system’s Florida and Arizona systems this fall.
Mayo Clinic maintains the buyouts are not related to the EHR implementation.
“The reduction in dictation volumes is a national industry trend,” Roshy Didehan, chair of practice administration at Mayo Clinic, told Healthcare Dive on Tuesday. “In response to this trend, Mayo Clinic is looking at ways to manage the transcription workforce, which is why we offered this voluntary separation package to all transcription staff who may be interested in leaving Mayo Clinic and/or pursuing other opportunities. We do not yet know how many will choose this option, nor do we yet know the longer-term reductions in transcription volumes.”
Technology can reduce demand for employees, causing organizations to scale back or eliminate staffed positions.
As technology reduces the need for transcriptionists, Mayo Clinic is attempting to scale back that workforce via the voluntary buyout packages rather than layoffs.
Employees are expensive for health systems. Facilities and labor costs take up a large share of an organization's budget. Layoffs have become a common means by which hospitals lower costs in the face of smaller volumes and rising expenses. Last month, Ascension Michigan laid off 500 workers at its 14 hospitals, including 20 management-level employees. Tenet Healthcare and Scripps Health have also announced layoff plans in an attempt to cut costs.