What Is a Medical Transcriptionist? (With Career Advice)
Updated 22 August 2022
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Medical transcriptionists play an important role in the healthcare industry by handling the creation of medical documentation. The documents they create may include a patient's medical history, discharge summary or other reports. If you are considering a career in the healthcare field, you may want to know more about medical transcription. In this article, we discuss what a medical transcriptionist is, what they do, how much they earn and what steps you can take to become one.
What Is A Medical Transcriptionist?
Medical transcriptionists convert audio recordings of physicians into written documents. They format the documents according to industry standards, proofread them for grammar and spelling errors and check that all medical terminology is used properly. Medical transcriptionists make sure that all patient records and doctors' reports created by dictation are accurate and written correctly. Some additional medical transcriptionist duties include:
Listening to recordings of doctor's dictations and typing what they say into a document
Reviewing and editing records that were created using speech-to-text software
Using their knowledge of medical terminology to proofread reports
Curating and filing the finished documents according to their employer's policies
Following confidential guidelines for the patient's privacy
Performing audits to check the quality of work
Getting health records approved by physicians
Updating patient's health records into EHR (Electronic Health Record) systems
Ensuring the transcription is complete, consistent and correct
How To Become A Medical Transcriptionist
Here are the steps you can follow to become a medical transcriptionist:
1. Get a basic education
It is important to understand the basic qualification required to become a medical transcriptionist. The minimum educational requirement for a transcriptionist is graduation with good command of the English language, basics of biology and medical field from a recognised university. They also need to complete a training course in medical transcription (MT). Upon meeting this requirement, an individual would then be qualified to work toward certification.
One form of acceptable certification is an associate degree with a specialisation in medical transcription. This usually takes around two years to complete and includes a thorough overview of medical terminology, anatomy and transcription techniques.
2. Gain work experience
Depending on the chosen method of education, medical transcriptionists may get offers to pursue an internship or apprenticeship as part of their degree. If not, they may need to seek opportunities to gain practical experience in a work environment. They can do this via volunteering, working as a general transcriptionist or job shadowing.
Also, there are many online courses that can provide technical training and practical knowledge. Medical transcription training includes learning to understand medical terminology, use dictation software and improve typing skills.
3. Gain certifications
Getting certified is one of the important steps to advance your career as a medical transcriptionist. Though it is voluntary to gain certified credentials, you may find a better job in the healthcare industry if you are certified. To gain certification, you must meet the eligibility criteria like qualification or minimum working experience and pass an exam.
4. Apply for jobs
Medical transcriptionists can seek employment at government hospitals, private clinics, local healthcare facilities. You can find job opportunities using online job portals like Indeed. Those who wish to work remotely can work as a freelancer as well. Before getting hired, applicants may need to submit a resume and proof of certification. So, it is advisable to submit the latest resume updated with the qualifications, certifications, experience and additional skills you have gained.
Related:10 Resume Writing Tips To Help You Land a Job
Skills Of A Medical Transcriptionist
Medical transcriptionists use several unique skills while completing their daily tasks. Important skills for a medical transcriptionist include:
Medical transcriptionists must be able to understand and interpret advanced medical terminology and vocabulary. Familiarity with medical terms allows medical transcriptionists to transcribe recordings quickly and accurately. Many transcriptionists use medical dictionaries to supplement their knowledge but most employers are looking for candidates who have a reasonably extensive medical vocabulary.
Medical transcriptionists are typically paid on a per word basis rather than on an hourly basis. Therefore, the faster they type, the more reports they can create and the higher is their salary. Successful medical transcriptionists can typically type as fast or faster than the average typing rate. Typing accuracy is also crucial as there is no room for typing errors in medical documents.
Medical transcriptionists must be able to operate and use certain computer software programs to complete their assignments. This includes word processors, like Microsoft Word, electronic health record systems and audio file editing equipment. These tools allow medical transcriptionists to complete their tasks quickly and to communicate directly with their supervisors and employers.
Related: Basic Computer Skills: Definition and Examples
Medical transcriptionists need to be proficient in spelling, grammar and syntax. They must make sure their writing is error-free, as even a careless mistake can lead to significant consequences in a medical environment. Thus, accuracy and excellent writing skills are valuable in this role.
Related:10 Tips To Improve Your Writing Skills
Medical transcriptionists need to have excellent listening skills. They may need to listen to recordings of physicians from different geographies. Hence, they should be able to understand different accents and be capable of finding the intended meaning to create an accurate medical report.
Related: Active Listening Skills: Definition and Examples
Attention to detail
Medical transcription is methodical work. Professionals must be able to listen to files carefully and precisely recreate what they hear. They must edit their documents rigorously to remove any errors and check both the doctor's words and their own for accuracy. Professionals who are focused, methodical and attentive are most likely to succeed in this career.
Critical thinking skills
Medical transcriptionists should be able to identify inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the dictation given to them. They should have enough knowledge and ability to research and find enough information to make sure the details provided are accurate and reliable.
Related: Critical Thinking Skills: Definitions and Examples
Medical transcriptionists may need to work under tight deadlines. They must know how to complete any work within a short period of time and still deliver accurate reports. They may also need to have the ability to concentrate for long hours.
Related: Time Management Skills: Definition and Examples
Medical Transcriptionist Work Environment
Medical transcriptionists work in a variety of settings. These include hospitals, medical schools, doctor's offices, private practices and health and wellness centres. It is also possible to work remotely if you have the right facilities and equipment. Medical transcriptionists spend most of their work hours sitting alone at a computer, listening to recordings via headphones. They may sometimes need to travel with a team and use their skills for a specific medical case. This job also provides flexible working hours and can be an ideal career if you want to pursue further studies.
Related: Everything You Should Know About Working From Home
Salary Of A Medical Transcriptionist
The average base salary of a medical transcriptionist is ₹2,12,945 per year. However, your salary can vary depending on your years of experience, location and skills. For instance, the average salary of a senior medical transcriptionist is ₹3,49,756 per year.
A medical transcriptionist in Ahmedabad, Gujarat makes around ₹2,73,699 per year. In comparison, the average base salary of a medical transcriptionist in Pune, Maharashtra is ₹1,92,631 per year. In Bengaluru, Karnataka, medical transcriptionists make around ₹2,57,318 per year, while the average salary of these professionals in Delhi is ₹2,61,682 per year. Your salary can increase faster if you can keep updating your skills.
Is Medical Transcriptionist A Good Job?
A career as a medical transcriptionist is a good choice as this industry is growing and there are a lot of opportunities available to advance in your career. If you like to work independently and look for flexible working hours, including the opportunity to work remotely, this can be the right career choice for you. This field gives you a great opportunity to earn, and your earnings may increase as you gain experience or become a certified medical transcriptionist.
Is Medical Transcription Still In Demand?
There are a lot of opportunities for medical transcriptionists in the health industry, but the way MTs used to work earlier is changing. With the advancement in technology, it is important to advance themselves as well. Nowadays, there is a demand for transcriptionists who are technically more sound and can use voice recognition software to transcribe the work. To stay competitive in the job market, consider upskilling yourself with the knowledge and expertise in the latest tools and techniques.
Medical Transcriptionist Job Description Example
Here is an example of a job description for a medical transcriptionist post:
We are in search of a requirement for a full-time medical transcriptionist to work with a highly energetic team at a heart specialist hospital in Hyderabad. You must have excellent typing skills and attention to detail. You also must have a graduation degree and a medical transcriptionist certificate. Working hours will be weekdays from 8:00 am to 6:00 am. Your primary duties will include:
Working with medical assistants and helping them prepare medical charts
Preparing documents using our hospital's medical record system
Supporting the medical team by providing accurate records of past patient encounters
Actively creating and maintaining soft copies of patient medical documents
Editing and processing the text to speech data of doctors by using their knowledge of grammar and spelling
Assisting administrative assistants when required
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
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