Medical Transcription: The Career

Medical transcription, one of the most popular home-based careers, refers to the transcription of dictations by doctors and other healthcare practitioners into ready to use text. These texts are usually patient records, letters and other correspondence material, as well as administrative reports.

In addition to home-based medical transcriptionists, these professionals also find employment in hospitals, offices of doctors and other healthcare practitioners, diagnostic centers, and business support firms that provide medical transcription services.

Duties and Responsibilities of Medical Transcriptionists (MTs):

• Listening to recorded dictations by physicians
• Typing out the entire recorded dictation into text
• Understanding medical jargon used in the dictations
• Using reference material to interpret clinical terminology
• Checking for inaccuracies and inconsistencies in a medical report
• Proof reading the text and correct any grammatical and/or spelling errors
• Converting the transcribed text into logical, clear, and reader-friendly reports
• Formatting the reports in standardized style and making sure they adhere to legal and ethical requirements.

How do Medical Transcriptionists Work?

Medical transcriptionists use a variety of devices to transcribe recorded dictations. The most traditional method of transcription involves the use of a mini cassette recorder. How this works is that the doctor dictates into a small handheld device, which records the dictation on micro cassettes. The MT then listens to the dictation on the recorder and transcribes it on to a word processor/personal computer.

However, since this method uses physical tapes that have to be either snail-mailed or couriered to the MT, it reduces the possibility of working with non-local clients.

That’s why other methods of transcription that make use of modern technology are gaining popularity. One such method is doctors giving dictations over the Internet or on a digital recorder, which are quickly transcribed by the MT and sent back to the physician through the computer. This method also reduces the turn around time of transcribed reports.

The other and one of the latest methods of transcription involve the use of voice recognition software. This software automatically converts the dictations into ready text. The job of a medical transcriptionist in this case is to rewrite it in a clear and concise manner and make it usable.

Medical Transcription Training & Advancement
Since employers prefer to hire MTs who have completed some kind of post-secondary training in the field, it’s a good idea for aspirants to enroll for a medical transcriptionist course offered by career schools.

Such medical transcription training programs, many of which are available online, will help graduates crack entry-level jobs in the industry. But unless you’re completely unambitious and easily contended, sooner or later you’ll want professional advancement.

Just like any other profession, career growth in medical transcription needs a pro-active approach and hands-on attitude on the part of an MT. Here are a few things you can do to set your medical transcription career soaring:

1. Accredited & Approved Programs: When enrolling for a medical transcription program, it’s a good idea to choose one that’s been approved by the committee formed by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) and the American Health Information Management Association.

2. Professional Certification: Although it’s not mandatory, getting certified is an excellent way to showcase your competency to employers. AHDI offers two voluntary certifications to MTs - Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) and Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT).

3. Advanced Training: Continuing education and advanced training will help you stay in touch with the innovations taking place in your profession. Through enhanced skills, you will be able to increase your marketability and improve your growth prospects.

4. Professional Organizations: Joining professional organizations like the American Association for Medical Transcription (AAMT) can also aid career advancement. MTs, who become member s of such organizations, are able to stay in touch with the current trends in their industry. They also have access to vast number of resources that can help them grow professionally.

5. Networking Opportunities: Networking with other professionals in the industry, attending seminars and workshops, and connecting with healthcare practitioners are some of the other ways to learn about newer and better work opportunities.

6. Industry Experience: With experience, it’s possible for medical transcriptionists working in offices to advance to supervisory or managerial positions. Senior MTs can become independent consultants or teach at vocational training schools. Experienced home-based professionals can go on to become medical transcription editors.

Author's Bio: 

Nancy is a 35-year old stay at home mom of two. She worked as a medical assistant for five years before taking a break to be with her children. Her experience as a medical assistant gave her valuable insights in to the medical transcription industry, which she likes to share with others through her writing. Medical transcription training often finds mention in her writings. Being an SAHM, Nancy is a huge exponent of online vocational training programs that provide women like her the power to be their own boss.