Medical Transcription A Brief Overview
If you’ve been thinking about working at home as an MT, here is some basic info you need to know.
by Cynthia Ann Lewis, The Entrepreneurial Parent
What is involved in Medical Transcription?
Medical transcription, as you may know, is transcribing audio cassette or digital dictation by physicians into hard copy or computer files for printing. In other words, physicians recount the patient’s medical history, clinical findings and health care services on a tape recorder or digital recording system, which in turn is interpreted by the medical transcriptionist and generated into a written record regarding the patient.
Medical terminology is a mix of Latin and Greek word parts (roots, prefixes and suffixes), using English and a smattering of foreign terms. A working knowledge of biology, human anatomy and physiology is necessary to understand the dictation. Grammar, spelling and punctuation are necessary to create a document that is correct, professional-looking, and interpretable by others
(lawyers, health care professionals, etc.).
Is there a market for medical transcriptionists?
Most definitely, there is a market for skilled medical transcriptionists.
Just having a computer at home and knowing how to type is definitely not enough to become a working, successful medical transcriptionist. Technical training is a necessity for the novice medical transcriptionist, usually in the form of a correspondence course or an apprenticeship. Experience in the field of transcription is invaluable to broaden your abilities and become familiar with the different medical specialties. Working for a transcription service, physician’s office, clinic or hospital is a good way to start building your career.
Working On Site VS. Working at Home
With your sharpened skills, the next decision is, should you work on-site or become an independent? This is best answered by a self-evaluation test. Calculate your transcription productivity. How many lines can you transcribe in an hour or day? Calculate that by the price rate in your area. Would you make enough as a self-employed transcriptionist to pay for overhead and have a profit? If you are an average to low producer, employee status is probably best. The job offers a steady income and benefits, but there are ceiling wages and an uncontrollable work environment. If you are an above average or high producer, consider self-employment. Becoming an independent medical transcriptionist offers awesome benefits for some people. It affords the opportunity to increase your income, control your work environment, learn more and varied business skills, and grow. It requires self-discipline, organization, continuing education and reinvestment in your equipment and yourself. A successful transition into independent transcription can also build self-esteem and the skills and motivation to tackle larger projects.
There are many different working environments available to a trained, experienced MT, including hospitals, clinics, individual and group medical, chiropractic, radiology, physical therapy practices, national transcription services that hire or contract home-based MT’s, local transcription services who may also hire or contract MT’s, and owner-operator MT’s (who may also subcontract work out).