Medical Transcriptionist

How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist
Medical Transcriptionist Job Duties
Skills and Qualities Needed to Become a Medical Transcriptionist
Medical Transcriptionist Salary
Influential Professional Medical Transcriptionists
Leading Medical Transcriptionist Organizations
Top Cities for Medical Transcription Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Medical Transcriptionist

The person, who transposes information onto computerized files from recordings made by various health care professionals, is known as a medical transcriptionist. You can become one in a variety of ways. The standard and most accepted is to complete a 12 month certificate program or a two year associate degree. Medical transcription training and courses are available in all education outlets ranging from community colleges to correspondence courses. Often these courses can be taken while already in relevant employment.

Although formal accreditation is not a job requirement and is voluntary, it is useful to have an AACP (Approval Committee for Certificate Programs) accreditation when Taking a job as a receptionist in a medical environment with a few basic keyboard skills can sometimes be the first stepping stone to medical transcription as learning medical terminology and becoming familiar with how the medical system operates in a hands on situation is invaluable.

It is useful to be aware of the base skills required before you enroll in a college course, as medical transcriptionist work is more demanding than people are aware. Specific natural abilities such as being good at spelling are crucial. Having the patience and a good ear to be able to decipher what is being said no matter what else may be happening on the recording. Doctors in particular are renowned for talking notes into a machine while doing other things such as eating, coughing, burping, and talking to others, taking telephone calls and the like.

Close attention is also needed to eliminate the possibility of mistakes when medical terms which sound exactly the same, are used. If a transcriptionist inputs the wrong word, a whole different meaning will occur. Only the context and often familiarity with the physician or patient, can often clarify ambiguous information.

What does a Medical Transcriptionist do?

Keying medical information from a Dictaphone or similar device and these days increasingly via the internet, onto computer, is the job of the medical transcriptionist. Usually transcriptionists listen to the information through earphones and control the listening device with a foot pedal.

The information taken down includes patient medical reports, medical analysis, tests, summaries, histories, examinations, progress notes, diagnoses, operations, autopsies, and referral letters and in fact, all medical material that needs to be logged and filed. Much of the information is added to patient's files and it is normally part of the transcriptionist's job to ensure that the correct material goes with the correct file.

All transcriptions have to be edited and clarified if necessary. When questionable material is included, this has to be checked with the medical authority who dictated the original information.

Once a transcription has been completed, it is then either given or sent to the medical professional who authorized and dictated the work, to be signed.

Medical transcriptionists work in a variety of environments ranging from hospitals to clinics. Many are work-from-home employees.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Medical Transcriptionist?

Apart from word processing skills, a medical transcriptionist needs to have a good working knowledge and understanding of medical terminology. Ideally he or she must also understand the anatomy and physiology as well as know about pharmaceuticals and various medical procedures. Good transcriptionists will recognize discrepancies which may appear in medical notes and will check the information.

They will also be able to translate any abbreviations and acronyms into their fully written forms. Standard medical reference material is available to assist transcriptionists with their work and these references must be known as legal and ethical standards have to comply with.

Apart from the above skills, ideal transcriptionists become familiar with patient assessments and are able to ensure that patients receive the highest quality treatment and care with minimal effort to the medical professionals involved.

In situations where medical transcriptionists work in private doctors' offices, they may have other duties which are reception and secretarially based. Answering telephones, dealing with patients and appointments, handling mail and typing letters are part of this.

Although most transcriptionists work in comfortable surroundings, and these days, with the luxury of the internet, increasingly from their own homes, a lot of sitting and concentration to detail is involved. Long periods of remaining in the same position together with the stress of constant focus can cause wrist, neck, back and eye strain.

Transcriptionists employed in an office or hospital type of environment work a normal 40 hour week. Home based workers are fortunate in being able to fit work in to their own routine.

How much does a Medical Transcriptionist make?

Salaries are variable depending on experience and what is of the medical profession a transcriptionist is working in. The official average hourly rate in 2006 however was around $15 an hour and there was little difference in that earned by a transcriptionist working in a laboratory (the highest rate at $15.68 in 2006) to someone in a physician's office ($14.00).

The lowest 10 percent of transcriptionists earned as little as $10.22 an hour in mid 2006 while the highest 10 percent earned more than $20.15.

Outpatient care centers and business support services paid $14.34 an hour and hospitals $14.62.

Annual salaries started at $29.261 for a new medical transcriptionist with basic skills rising to $43,267 for one with maximum qualifications.

Transcriptionist supervisors started at $39,653 and rose to $62,190. Payment structures are also variable. Many are paid in standard fashion, by the hour or on the number of lines or words produced. Some are paid per hour with bonuses for extra work. Independent contractors earn more than employed transcriptionists, the downside being the high risk involved since that there are no benefits or paid for vacations.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Because of the office based nature of a medical transcriptionist's work, there are no recommended influential professionals as such. Consider all Medical Transcriptionist influential as it is a meaningful career path with great rewards.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

According to KLAS, the US research organization which specializes in monitoring performance of healthcare firms, the top 10 players include CBay (Annapolis, MD, also in India), Spheris (Franklin, TN, also in India), Acusis (Pittsburgh, PA, also in India), DTS America (Brentwood, TN), Heartland (Toledo OH, also in India).

What are the top cities for Medical Transcription jobs?

Phoenix Arizona is the top US city for medical transcriptionists as it is for most healthcare professionals. This is primarily because many healthcare institutions are based there including the Arizona Heart Institute, The Barrow Neurological Institute and the Banner Estrella Medical Centre.

Second to Phoenix is Cincinnati, Ohio with its Children's Hospital Medical Center renowned for breakthrough treatments.

Chicago, Illinois lies third with The University of Chicago Medical Center, recognized as one of the top hospitals in the country. Four top level trauma centers are also located in Chicago. Dallas, Texas and Baltimore, Maryland come in at fourth and fifth respectively.

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