Medical Transcriptionist

Medical transcriptionists listen to doctor dictated recordings and transcribe what they hear into letters, medical reports, and other documents. They listen to recordings with specialized equipment that permits them to pause or stop recordings with a foot pedal, and they enter content on a computer. Medical transcriptionists are responsible for reviewing content for clarity, spelling, and grammar. Documents they transcript include referral letters, progress notes, diagnostic-imaging studies, autopsy, consultation, operative, and physical exam reports, medical histories, and discharge summaries. Medical transcriptionists submit transcribed documents to doctors for signatures, review, and correction. Finalized documents are eventually filed.

Most doctors and medical specialists today utilize analog or digital dictating technology to perform their dictations. Many doctors submit completed dictations via email or the Internet. Once dictations are received, transcriptionists are able to quickly complete their transcriptions and resubmit them for approval. Since most dictated content is now being submitted to transcriptionists online, medical transcription departments are now collaborating with IT specialists and programmers to stream dictated content through the organizations computer network. This has enabled medical transcriptionists to work remotely with their laptop computers or other electronic devices.

Many doctors and medical transcribers are now using speech recognition technology. Transcriptionists working with doctors using this technology are responsible for formatting documents, reviewing content for translation, spelling, and grammar errors, and eliminating redundancies or words that don’t fit into the document. Transcriptionists employed in specialized fields, such as oncology or radiology, using standardized jargon, typically use speech recognition equipment. More doctors and medical transcribers will use speech recognition technology as it becomes more able to recognize medical jargon.

Education and Training

Healthcare providers heavily recruit transcriptionists who’ve completed formal medical transcription training. Many online, community, and vocational colleges offer medical transcription training programs.

Medical transcriptionists with associate’s degrees or professional certificates who’ve taken classes in English grammar, medical terminology, anatomy, and legal issues pertaining to medical documentation enjoy excellent job opportunities. Students enrolled in these programs usually complete hands-on training. Many transcriptionists, especially ones who understand medical terminology by working as medical secretaries or nurses, develop additional skills by completing refresher training.

Medical transcriptionists are not required to complete formal certification, but many medical transcriptionist professional organizations sponsor accreditation programs. Even though it’s not a requirement to be certified, transcriptionists who’ve completed an accreditation program qualify for professional certification.

Job Outlook

Job growth for medical transcriptionists is expected to increase at an above average rate. Job opportunities for medical transcriptionists should be excellent, especially for ones who’ve completed formal training. Job growth for these specialists is projected to increase by 11 percent through 2018. Aging populations and demand for healthcare will increase demand for qualified medical transcriptionists. Elderly people receive more medical treatments and tests that need to be coded than other age groups. Demand for medical transcriptionists will also be attributed to increased use of electronic medical records since healthcare providers often need to transmit information to third-party payers, government regulatory agencies, and other providers. More medical transcriptionists will be hired to edit documentation created with speech recognition technology, edit medical reports for errors, and amend medical records.

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