July 2019

Viewing posts from July , 2019

Expenses – The Wise and the Mighty

Expenses – The Wise and the Mighty

Expenses hit at the core of all functioning systems. Whether the system is a household or a business, expenses drive the cost of all the services required to have a well-functioning operation. While many view expenses as a drawback, they highlight the collection of decisions made by an organization to acquire all the services and products that contribute to optimal performance.

While some expenses add value, others can hurt. To determine which category your expenses fall into, an expense analysis can help. Consider rating expenditures against the following criteria:

  1. The requirements the expense meets. Ask yourself if the expense works to provide fundamental items to operate. For instance, nearly all businesses require electricity and internet connectivity. Costs like these go without question because they are a necessity and serve a baseline purpose. These cannot be avoided.
  2. The efficiency the expense brings. How does the expense make things easier for your operations and your staff? Can the expense eliminate a manual process that is tedious and error-prone? Can it supplant another expense? For instance, adding automation comes with a price tag, but it can also reduce or eliminate labor costs.
  3. The value the expense offers. How does the expense provide your company and its staff better positioning in the marketplace? For example, will the expense help differentiate your company and create value for your clients or employees? Value-added features can build loyalty among your client base and staff.
  4. The well-being the expense provides your team. Does the expense provide support and wellness to your staff? Happier staff tends to be more engaged. And more engaged staff is more likely to champion the mission of your organization. Plus, when your team is engaged, attrition is lessened. Low turnover is tremendous for any company.
  5. The peace-of-mind the expense contributes. How does the expense work alongside you or behind-the-scenes to make sure you aren’t missing anything critical? If your business must comply with governmental regulations, or even SLA terms, paid services that will caution you before something falls off your radar can be a lifesaver.

When evaluating a new expense, if you measure it against the criteria above it can help you assess if it makes sense for your organization. Then, invest time to compare a few companies that offer the product or service that you have in mind. Choose to work with only the companies that meet the aforementioned criteria. Smart buys will not only add value to your organization, but they can help you grow.

Likewise, remember that some expenses will only make sense for your company in the short term. So, it is wise to re-evaluate all the expenses for which your organization pays regularly. If the cost no longer falls in line with the criteria above, its usefulness may have expired and may need to be eliminated.

Athreon works closely with organizations of all sizes and budgets to deliver its speech to text transcription services. Our solutions are designed to help you reduce your hardware, payroll, benefits, and telecommunications costs. We encourage you to contact us for a no-commitment, no-cost consultation to learn how Athreon’s transcription service can help your business lower costs, improve effectiveness, and strengthen employee morale.

The Next Evolution of Mobile Communication: The New Fifth Generation (5G) Mobile Network Will Create Both Interconnected Disruption and Opportunity

The Next Evolution of Mobile Communication: The New Fifth Generation (5G) Mobile Network Will Create Both Interconnected Disruption and Opportunity

Day to day, we are communicating more and more with our mobile devices or smartphones, followed by a tablet and other smart devices. The world has changed—from economical movements to seismic disruptions in healthcare, transportation, data analytics and information processing to academic research and mobile technology—particularly mobile communication networks. At every instance of technological disruption is an opportunity for new applications to rise. With the evolution of communication networks, beginning with the first generation (1G) about 1980 onwards to the fifth generation (5G), how we communicate digitally will continue to change drastically and transform.

According to Ericsson’s 2019 mobility report1, year-on-year mobile traffic growth, globally, has shifted; resulting in upward growth around 2018. This presents opportunity and challenges. Communication is based on a complex mobile network reliant on technological infrastructures with limitations. Even though the world continues to operate in 2G, 3G, and 4G networks, 5G network conversions will increase.

In its initial months and years, 5G networks will not be available ubiquitously. Current technological infrastructures and networks need to undergo a particular, and in some instances massive, conversion process. A new communication system and its regulatory requirements for 5G technology, including devices and smartphones, are based on:

a. Communication and computational systems that are highly reliable;
b. Systems that are based on low-energy consumption;
c. Systems that are capable of handling large data volume in terms of ongoing traffic;
d. A much-improved systemic throughput for multiple devices communicating simultaneously without being affected by large data demands causing delays and disrupting communication (e.g., dropped calls and latency);
e. Systems that are available at all times and highly sustainable.

The current fourth generation (4G) based on LTE technology was groundbreaking, but it has limitations. 5G, also known as NR for New Radio, not only challenges traditional use cases by increasing capability and more (as listed above), but it also does not require the technological components 4G relies on. 5G is set to solve some important ongoing problems as addressed. Wireless communication is never short of consumer demands and systemic stress; equally matched by ongoing enhancements and evolutions to meet its growing challenges. Reference ITU’s usage scenarios for IMT-20202 and specifics about its capabilities.

5G moves the progress needle because it will make data exchange among multiple devices simultaneously more instantaneous and less latent. And since mobile devices are connected everywhere, every day, and every second, it’s also creating a large dynamical complex ecosystem—every industry will be impacted either through disruption or new opportunity. More precisely, industries contributing to our economic pillars could experience great improvements and unanticipated effects, which still need to be examined, studied, and considered. For example, a few of the many industries we service such as-

Healthcare will experience a much more improved and rapid health record processing rate in both the patient and provider front in some geographical areas; inadvertently, records may continue to grow, but accuracy will be challenging. Practices in Dermatology, Radiology, Cardiology, and Oncology may see improved communication and record-keeping from patients following more health-conscious habits and using mobile apps to support positive behavioral changes.

Law Enforcement introduces innovation at various levels to improve delayed case processing and case interviewer audio transcription, but to also improve expense-to-productivity returns. Leveraging technology among existing manual processes contributes to noticeable progress. Interconnected technology with 5G devices makes communication fast and raises cybersecurity concerns to enforce CJIS standards.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning is disruption on warp drive sometimes because it changes how we understand our data and consider traditional statistical methods for answers. An AI model is never static but truly dynamic, relying on ongoing learning and data. 5G accelerates data growth and empowers machine processing indirectly.

Academic Research relies on Quality Data and Sound Experimental Designs. Data collection can take a long time. Qualifying data is an independent exercise on its own. Since research is a multi-step process full of dependencies, accelerating any step or phase of the process positively creates impactful advantages resulting in discoveries and unprecedented research. 5G may accelerate the time needed to collect data and communication.

Athreon provides unique offerings in both understanding technological disruptions and providing the right solutions for a variety of industries, including healthcare providers, insurance claim adjusters, law enforcement case processing officers, and academic researchers, in their speech to text mobile or dictation transcription needs. With accelerated data and 5G mobile communication increasing accuracy and security concerns, Athreon adopts a particular model including automation, speech recognition, quality assurance, and human expertise to provide timely precision in any speech recognition, speech to text, voice analytics, or transcription needs.

Contact Us Today for a demo and consultation to understand your needs and how 5G might affect your industry.

1Ericsson Communications. June 2019. Ericsson Mobility Report June 2019 retrieved from https://www.ericsson.com/en/mobility-report

2International Telecommunication Union (ITU) IMT-2020 Usage and Capabilities Retrieved from:

Doctors in the United States now have the Highest Suicide Rate among all Professionals. Do you know a Doctor who is Struggling?

Doctors in the United States now have the Highest Suicide Rate among all Professionals. Do you know a Doctor who is Struggling?


Physicians are stressed. A 2019 report by Medscape shows that 44% of the physicians they surveyed in 2018 reported feeling burnt out. The stress is so bad for some that they are leaving the healthcare industry to pursue entirely different careers. Many who continue to practice medicine are finding unhealthy ways of coping including self-medicating, socially withdrawing, and abusing alcohol. What’s worse, doctors now have the highest rate of suicide among all professionals. The Medscape report shows that one physician attempts suicide every day in the United States. So, why are our doctors struggling? You might be surprised to learn that a lot of it has nothing to do with actual hands-on patient care. Many physicians are besieged with administrative bureaucracy.

Medscape’s survey, which collected responses from over 15,000 physicians across more than 29 specialties in the United States, shows that 59% of respondents cited charting and paperwork as a significant contributor to their burnout. Another 32% specifically cited their electronic health record (EHR) as a factor. EHRs are the repositories that store information about a patient’s care. Entering data into an EHR can be incredibly tedious and time-consuming. For every hour spent working with patients, providers can spend upwards of two hours entering data into their EHR. This makes for incredibly long workdays that take away from a physician’s ability to make time for their family, friends, and other interests outside work.

While EHRs do offer several advantages, including automated prescribing, medical error reduction, and enhanced security for sensitive patient information, they are often cumbersome for doctors to use. They can be so user-unfriendly that an entire industry of medical scribes was born out of the extreme frustration voiced by physicians who felt shackled to their EHRs. Scribes are individuals who sometimes accompany providers during patient visits and navigate the EHR on their behalf. Scribes enter information into the EHR at the direction of the doctor. This can help the doctor better keep their focus on the patient. However, scribes aren’t a cure-all. Scribes can be expensive to employ, and high turnover can be an issue.

As an alternative to scribes, some medical facilities have deployed speech recognition technology to ease the documentation burdens on physicians. Because a doctor can speak much more quickly than they can type, this technology can reduce the amount of time a provider spends in the EHR. The problem with voice recognition is that it still demands the attention of the doctor because misrecognitions by the speech technology require manual correction by the physician. Add to that, doctors need to learn how to use the speech technology, and this still leaves another glaring problem. Many patients take offense to providers keeping their focus on a computer screen instead of actively listening to them during their visit. Patients want their doctors to make eye contact with them and to be present with them during their visit. Speech recognition technology can get in the way of doctors and patients connecting on a human level.

Of course, we live in a time when data-driven decisions can only be made when the data is collected and analyzed. And because doctors treat patients and know their health status most intimately, many believe that physicians are best suited to populate the EHR with clinical findings. But, is this the case? Ask most any doctor, and they’re apt to tell you that they didn’t enter medical school with ambitions of becoming data entry clerks post graduation. Unfortunately, that’s precisely what many physicians have become in hospitals, surgery centers, and private practices all over the country. While data capture is essential, tasking providers with multiple hours of administrative work daily isn’t sustainable.

Understandably, doctors are in a tough position. They are expected to meet productivity goals and simultaneously make patients feel cared for without sacrificing their personal well-being. They are expected to be superhuman and often tacitly guilted for seeking help when they most need it. As a result, what ends up happening too often is that the administrative demands make it so that providers have to cut back on the number of patients they see each day, just so they can keep up with EHR requirements. Consequently, this limits access to care, which isn’t beneficial for patients who need treatment.

It doesn’t make sense to take a physician, one of the most educated and skilled professionals on a medical center’s payroll, and make them responsible for hours upon hours of ongoing data entry. When so many physicians complain of burnout, resort to unhealthy ways of coping, quit their profession or worse, healthcare is at the precipice of a breaking point. Technology is supposed to enhance lives, not make people slaves to it. It is incumbent on healthcare facilities to make sure their doctors are cared for and supported. Without a meaningful change to the current broken process, doctors will continue to suffer, and patient care will be put at risk.

Athreon understands the challenges faced by both physicians and the medical facilities that employ them. We provide healthcare professionals with easy-to-use dictation and remote transcription solutions that enable providers to keep their focus on their patients and still meet EHR objectives. If your facility is struggling with physician satisfaction and retention or if patients are complaining to you about how your medical staff interacts with them during office visits, we invite you to contact us for a no-risk, no-commitment consultation.