Medical transcription is a rapidly growing field. So, just what does a medical transcriptionist do? What is the work like? How do you become a transcriptionist? This article will provide an overview of this hot and in-demand career.
And yes, you can work from home as a medical transcriptionist. Details to follow.
You know those walls of files in medical offices? Well, they contain a lot of information about patients. Files and reports are often shared between all doctors working with a particular patient, such as the family doctor, a specialist, an ER doctor, etc. This means these medical histories and reports have to be accurate and up-to-date. This is where the medical transcriptionist comes in.
Medical transcriptionists listen to dictated recordings made by health care professionals after (or during) an exam or procedure. Then, they transcribe them into medical reports, correspondence and other materials. Usually this is done working with a computer and transcription machine, which the transcriptionist listens to through headphones.
Examples of these documents include discharge summaries, examinations, operative reports, consultation reports, autopsy reports, diagnostic imaging studies, progress notes, and referral letters. The healthcare provider then approves the copy, notating the need for any edits. The document then becomes part of the patients’ medical file.
Medical transcriptionists may also have other office duties, primarily if they are in a doctor’s office. These could include receiving patients, scheduling, answering phones, billing and correspondence.
According to the United States Department of Labor, medical transcription is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations until 2012. This means, the demand only continues to grow.The surge in insurance companies requiring standardized documents only makes the demand higher.
Most transcriptionists are employed by hospitals, about four of ten. Three of ten work for doctor’s offices. The other three work in other healthcare settings or telecommute from home either as a subcontractor or are self-employed. Other healthcare settings that utilize medical transcriptionists include labs, outpatient centers, surgery centers, mental health facilities, independent transcription service providers, government medical facilities and more.
With some experience, medical transcriptionists can work from home, teach courses or become office managers.
TRAINING AND QUALIFICATIONS
Since so many providers share records with one another, the need for accuracy is key. Because of this, proper training is necessary. In fact according to Monster.com, employers prefer medical transcriptionists who have complete postsecondary training at a career school.
Most diploma programs offer training in anatomy & physiology, medical terminology, legal issues, medical office procedures, pharmacology and more. Having an understanding of the English language, grammar and punctuation is a good help, as is being proficient with a computer. Many schools offer students an internship, too.
Beware of mail-order schools that may not offer the right credentials! Be sure the school is nationally accredited, as you may wish to become certified by a medical organization like the Association for Medical Transcription.
The Department of Labor reports that the average salary is $13.05/hour. Most earn between $10.87 and $15.63. On the upper end, hourly wages surpassed $17.00/hour.