What Is Medical Transcription? What Do Transcriptionists Do?
Medical transcriptionists are skilled typists who are able to type exactly what they hear with good grammar being important. Since they are working within the medical field, they must be very familiar with medical terminology. There are times when they are also called upon to edit the information in order to make it more logical without changing any of the relevant information.
Some of the documents that medical transcriptionists are in charge of typing include:
- Discharge summaries
- Physical exams
- Reports that are done after an operation is performed
- Autopsy reports
- Radiology exams
- Obstetrical reports
- Referral letters
Regardless of what they type, this information will become a permanent part of the patient’s record. Therefore it will have medical, scientific and legal importance.
Medical transcriptionists who work in a medical office or clinic will oftentimes have additional responsibilities within the office as well. These will oftentimes include:
- Greeting patients
- Scheduling appointments
- Answering telephones
- Handling the mail
- Completing and submitting health insurance claims
- Maintaining patients’ records
Home Based Medical Transcription
There are also some medical transcriptionists who work from home. They convert voice recordings into text from the comfort of their home office. In order to be successful at working from home in this job you will need to have the right equipment, be a skilled transcriptionist and be an entrepreneur. Nevertheless, a lot of people are choosing to work in this fashion because there is more freedom in scheduling your work hours here.
While all of this may sound great, you should know that if you choose to work from home, you will be an independent contractor and as such you are not guaranteed work nor will you receive employee benefits. So, you may have to work for more than one company in order to be able to earn a living.
How Much Do Medical Transcriptionists Make?
There are actually two ways in which medical transcriptionists can be paid. The first is by the hour. Starting hourly pay for a medical transcriptionist is $9 per hour. Fortunately, there are pay increases and eventually you could be making as much as $20 per hour. The second way that medical transcriptionists are paid is by the line. This offers you the opportunity to make as much as $40 per hour.
As such, this is the preferable method of payment, especially since you could make thousands of dollars per week getting paid this way if you have the time. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, most medical transcriptionists are actually earning between $13.02 and $18.55 with the top 10% earning more than $21.81 per hour.
The Medical Transcription Job Market
There’s no point investigating this career opportunity if it doesn’t offer long term job security. There’s good news; the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics is predicting above average growth in this field to take place over the next five to eight years, especially within the home business sector. As long as you are a quick typist with good accuracy the job market is good.
You won’t have to worry about losing your job either because voice recognition computers simply do not do as good of job as humans do. While most companies will give you a speed and accuracy test whenever you apply for a job, as long as you do well there you won’t have to worry about having a lot of experience behind you. This is because there is a definite need for medical transcriptionists – and with an aging demographic and increased demand on the healthcare system, this demand is not going to be diminishing anytime soon.
Medical Transcription Training
A lot of people are opting to complete their medical transcription certification online today. This is because it will only take between 9 and 12 months to complete or a total of 600 to 700 hours. Fortunately, there are a lot of great schools available online for you to choose from. These include:
- Kaplan University
- The U.S. Career Institute
- The Michigan Community College Virtual Learning Collaborative
- Penn Foster Career School
Most certification programs will cost around $1,000 and teach you the following:
- Medical terminology
- Basic anatomy, physiology, diagnostics and treatment modalities
- Rules of style, grammar and punctuation as well as editing and proofreading
- Word processing skills
- How to use transcription equipment
Medical Transcription Software
There are a lot of different types of software available for you to use in your transcription work. Many of these programs are free to download and use. They include:
- Express Scribe (a.k.a. ES) is a really popular program not only because it is free but it also includes a lot of useful features.
- InqScribe (a.k.a. IS) is another free program with its best feature being the ease with which you will be able to insert time codes.
- For The Record (a.k.a. FTR) is also free but it has a lot of more advanced features.
Medical Transcription Outsourcing
Whenever you are looking to outsource your medical transcription work, there are some things that you will want to take into consideration:
- Quality. You will want to make sure that there is a really high rate of accuracy coming from a highly skilled team of professional transcriptionists who do their best to minimize any errors.
- Cost-effectiveness. While outsourcing transcription will generally eliminate the cost of your overhead expenses by approximately 50%, you will want to make sure that this is true for you.
- Turnaround time. It is important that work be done in a timely manner, with the right technology and by a skilled professional. Only then will your timelines be met.
- Confidentiality. There should be a confidentiality agreement signed so that nobody risks breaching a patient’s confidential records.
- Testimonials. Make sure to choose someone with a proven track record.
While you will generally pay between $30 and $60 for a medical transcription job to be done, this depends upon the following factors:
- The format that you provide your dictation (audio recording) in
- How soon you will need to have the files transcribed
- How many reports you will have the company do for you
- How many different doctors or providers will be sending in their dictation