Medical transcriptionists are medical language specialists who transcribe dictation by physicians and other health care professionals regarding patient diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. They use state of the art electronic equipment to transcribe a variety of medical reports that document patient care and facilitate delivery of health care services. Medical transcriptionists have a broad knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, surgical procedures, medications, diagnostic tests and curative procedures and medicolegal principles.
A wide variety of careers exist in the medical transcription field, such as working in doctors' offices, hospital outpatient diagnostic services, insurance companies, or private dictation services. Opportunities abound for a 'self starting' individual who is interested in the medical field, has word processing skills, and who takes great pride in efficiency and accuracy. Recent graduates of medical transcription education programs, MTs, may wish to become a registered medical transcriptionist (RMT) by passing a national registry exam administered by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI).
Nature of Work-Currently, most health care providers transmit dictation to medical transcriptionists using either digital or analog dictating equipment. The Internet has grown to be a popular mode for transmitting documentation. Many transcriptionists receive dictation over the Internet and are able to quickly return transcribed documents to clients for approval. Another increasingly popular method utilizes speech recognition technology, which electronically translates sound into text and creates drafts of reports.
Medical transcriptionists use their talents in a variety of healthcare settings, including doctors' offices, public and private hospitals, teaching hospitals, medical schools, medical transcription businesses, clinics, laboratories, pathology and radiology departments, insurance companies, medical libraries, government medical facilities, rehabilitation centers, legal offices, research centers, veterinary medical facilities, and associations representing the healthcare industry.
Related Job Titles-Administrative assistant within health care settings, medical secretary, medical documentation specialists, editors
Employment Outlook-Job opportunities are expected to be good. Employment of medical transcriptionists is projected to grow by 11% from 2008-2018, about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2018. Demand for medical transcription services will be spurred by a growing and aging population. Older age groups receive proportionately greater numbers of medical tests, treatments, and procedures that require documentation. A high level of demand for transcription services also will be sustained by the continued need for electronic documentation that can easily be shared among providers, third-party payers, regulators, consumers, and health information systems. Growing numbers of medical transcriptionists will be needed to edit documents from speech recognition systems, and identify discrepancies in medical reports, and enter data into the electronic medical record.
Outsourcing transcription work abroad has grown more popular as transmitting confidential health information over the Internet has become more secure; however, the demand for overseas transcription services is expected only to supplement the demand for well-trained domestic medical transcriptionists. In addition, reports transcribed by overseas medical transcription services usually require editing for accuracy by domestic medical transcriptionists before they meet domestic quality standards. Speech-recognition technology allows physicians and other health professionals to dictate medical reports to a computer that immediately creates an electronic document. These documents are then edited by a medical transcriptionist to ensure the accuracy and integrity of medical reports.
Hospitals will continue
to employ a larger percentage of medical transcriptionists, but job growth there
will not be as fast as in other industries. An increasing demand for
standardized records should result in rapid employment growth in physicians'
offices, especially in large group practices. Medical transcriptionists had
median hourly earnings of $14.41 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned
between $13.02 and $18.55. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.76, and
the highest 10 percent earned more than $21.81.
Compensation methods for medical transcriptionists vary. Some are paid based on the number of lines they transcribe. Others receive a base pay per hour with incentives for extra production. Employees of transcription services and independent contractors almost always receive production based pay. Resources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010-2011. For additional information, visit the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) at www.ahdionline.org
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