The primary function of the medical transcriptionist is to listen to audio files made by physicians and other health care personnel. These audio files must be transcribed into accurate electronic medical reports, correspondence, and administrative materials. They usually listen to recordings on a head set. They can pause the recordings with a foot pedal. The text is then keyed into a word processing program or a personal computer system. The medical transcriptionist must carefully edit this text for grammar and clarity errors. This professional is able to produce documents that include the following reports: discharge summaries, physical examination reports, medical history reports, operative reports, autopsy reports, and consultation reports. After these reports are completed, the medical transcriptionist returns the electronic files to the health professionals for correction and signatures. These documents are very important because they become a part of the patients’ permanent medical file.
Most medical transcription employers strong prefer candidates with training from an accredited institution. Check out the programs below which offer free information:
Medical Transcriptionist Job Responsibilities
There is a huge body of knowledge that must be mastered by the medical transcriptionist to be successful. It is critical for this professional to have a strong grasp of medical terminology, pharmacology, anatomy, physiology, and diagnostic procedures. The medical transcriptionist must be familiar enough with the medical language to translate jargon and abbreviations to the formal form. Medical transcriptionists often use written and electronically research materials to find answers to questions. This profession is one in which the person is always learning and expanding their knowledge. Additionally, this professional must adhere to legal requirements for medical report style and confidentiality requirements.
The medical transcriptionist has a relatively comfortable work environment. Many work in doctor’s offices. Others work from the comfort of their home office. The environment is quiet and involve very little interaction with other people. This professional must sit for extended periods, and the medical transcriptionist does a great deal of typing. Consequently, problems can occur with the wrist and hands after working in this field for a number of years.
Additionally, many report that the position is stressful. The requirement to be very accurate and highly productive is a source of pressure for many. The lives of patients often rest with the medical transcriptionists attention to detail and accuracy. A simple error could cause huge problems for a patient and physician. Fortunately, there are methods in place to check over the work and provide quality assurance; however, sometimes mistakes are missed. Employers will not tolerate more than a 98% percentage of errors. A professional can be released or terminated based on this factor.
Medical Transcriptionist Training and Education Requirements
Employers in the medical field definitely prefer to hire job candidates that have post secondary training in medical transcription. Many community or junior colleges offer a one year or two year program. The one year program finishes with the awarding of a certificate. The two year program leads to an associate degree in medical transcription. Many times the classes focus on writing, grammar, and medical related courses. Much of the training consists of on-the-job training. Those that have prior experience with medical terminology can usually just take a refresher course to become proficient.
The industry does not require formal accreditation for medical transcription programs. If a medical transcriptionist seeks to obtain certification, graduation from an accredited program may be necessary.
Medical Transcriptionist Salary and Wages
Statistics show that wage and salary medical transcriptionists earn a median salary of $15.41. This figure is accurate as of May 2008. The middle half of the profession earned between $13.00 and $18.00. The lowest earners make less than $10.76. Those that were the highest earners make $21.00 or more per hour. There are various ways that a medical transcriptionist can be paid. Some companies pay by line transcribed; others pay according to hours worked. There are usually incentives for production. Increased productivity is awarded in this profession. Many professionals in medical transcription become independent contractors. They are paid a higher rate; however, they do not receive benefits. In addition, they are easier for an employer to terminate.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Medical Transcriptionist Certifications
AHDI grants two credentials to medical transcriptionists. First, the Registered Medical Transcriptionist is one of the certifications that can be earned. Second, the Certified Medical Transcriptionist is another certification that may be earned. Recent graduates of a medical transcription program and professionals with less than two years experience are eligible to become a Registered Medical Transcriptionist. In contrast, the Certified Medical Transcriptionist credential requires at least two years of acute care transcription. Professionals in this field are advised to always keep their knowledge current.
Medical Transcriptionist Professional Associations
The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity is one of the associations in the medical transcription profession. This program established the Approval Committee for Certificate Programs. This program grants accreditation to medical transcription programs that meet certain criteria. The American Health Information Management Association is another organization that issues voluntary accreditation to institutions that seek to gain this credential. It is important to get involved in these association. Many professionals are able to network and share information through these associations. These connections can be valuable throughout the career of a medical transcriptionist. Also, the support from another professional in the field can be very comforting.