Jobs in the healthcare field have been increasing in the last 10 years, and they are expected to continue to rise. Because medical professionals rely upon the work of transcriptionists as part of their daily activities, medical transcription has become a specialized field that promises to grow in the coming years.
Why Are Medical Transcriptionists Needed?
Medical transcriptionists convert voice-recorded confidential patient information into typed documents. The text format is very convenient for computer storage and access, as well as for transferring patient information from one medical facility to another. In addition to transcribing important patient information, medical interviews and meetings are also converted from audio to text, which are sometimes used for legal purposes.
Medical transcription is one area where computers have not been able to satisfactorily take over the job of humans. Although voice recognition technology has been used, it has proven to be inefficient in transcribing rapid speech, foreign accents, or poor diction.
Where Do Medical Transcriptionists Work?
Sometimes transcriptionists work on-site in a hospital or medical building. However, since medical transcription lends itself easily to off-site work, many transcriptionists in this specialty are self-employed, and they work from their own home.
What Skills Are Needed?
An excellent grasp of the English language is needed for this field, as well as top-notch spelling and grammar skills, and a fast typing speed.
Many doctors speak with a foreign accent, and their diction may not be clear if they speak too quickly. Doctors often record meetings with their medical teams, so multiple speakers may need to be transcribed from the same audio. For this reason, it is important for transcribers to be familiar with medical terminology and the common names of drugs, so that they can recognize the words used and spell them accurately.
What Training Is Needed?
Currently, no certification is required for this field, although training is desirable and may lead to a better-paying job. Those taking medical transcription courses learn about the various types of medical forms needed, as well as privacy policies and current hospital practices for their field. They are taught how to translate the medical shorthand doctors often use in dictation into correctly formatted medical documents. Training courses are available online, or can be taken at community colleges.
It is also possible to become a medical transcriptionist by first gaining experience in general transcription, and then moving up the ladder to the medical field. Previous work experience as a secretary, billing clerk, or receptionist in a medical setting may help those who want to move up the ladder in this way.