Medical Transcriptionist Job Outlook
Employment change. Employment of medical transcriptionists is projected to grow by 11 percent from 2016 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Demand for medical transcription services will continue to be spurred by a growing and aging population. Older age groups receive proportionally 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 be shared easily among providers, third-party payers, regulators, consumers, and health information systems. Growing numbers of medical transcriptionists will be needed to amend patients’ records, edit documents from speech recognition systems, and identify discrepancies in medical reports.
Contracting out transcription work overseas and advancements in speech recognition technology are not expected to significantly reduce the need for well-trained medical transcriptionists. Outsourcing transcription work abroad—to countries such as India, Pakistan, Philippines, Barbados, and Canada—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 U.S. quality standards.
Speech recognition technology allows physicians and other health professionals to dictate medical reports to a computer, which immediately creates an electronic document. In spite of the advances in this technology, the software has been slow to grasp and analyze the human voice, the English language, and the medical vernacular with all its diversity. As a result, there will continue to be a need for skilled medical transcriptionists to identify and appropriately edit the inevitable errors created by speech recognition systems and to create a final document.
Job prospects. Job opportunities will be good, especially for those who are certified. Hospitals will continue to employ a large percentage of medical transcriptionists, but job growth will be in other industries. An increasing demand for standardized records should result in rapid employment growth in physicians’ offices, especially in large group practices.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook