What do medical transcriptionists do

What do Medical Transcriptionists do?

Transcription is the process of typing out dictations which have been recorded using a recording device. Transcription can broadly be divided into general transcription, legal transcription and medical transcription.

General transcription can include a variety of topics like the transcription of seminars, keynote addresses, coaching sessions and even narration by authors who do not have time to type down their work.

Medical transcription is a more specialised field and the transcribers are expected to know medical terminologies. Medical transcriptionists are expected to undergo specialized training int his field before they are hired. Medical transcripts are used for a variety of purposes including disbursal of insurance claims of patients and hence are of great importance. Hence, medical transcribers are often expected to deliver transcripts with an accuracy of over 99 percent.

This blog post will cover:

  • Essential tools for the medical transcriber
  • Training and resources for medical transcriptionists
  • Qualities of a good medical transcriptionist

Essential tools for the medical transcriptionist

Medical transcription is a specialised job and is not simply typing. Very often medical transcribers have to deliver transcripts in a short turn around time with utmost quality and hence specialised tools are essential for transcriptionists. The usual media players like Windows media Player or VLC player are not sufficient for this type of specialised work.

Transcription Platform ( Software)

Express Scribe is the most popular transcription software that is available in the market. Beginners can download the free version of this software and get a feel of it before purchasing the Pro version. The Express Scribe Pro comes with a  host of user-friendly tools like noise reduction, speed reduction, fast forward and rewind to name a few. Tools like Express Scribe are absolutely essential for simultaneous and online transcription of audio files.

Foot Pedal: this forms a very important part of the tool-kit of an experienced medical transcriptionist. It is almost impossible to transcribe voice files simultaneously and online without using the foot pedal. With the help of foot pedal, the transcriptionist can control the audio file with his legs which is much more convenient and user-friendly. This would mean that the hands are free to type on the keyboard simultaneously while listening to the audio. The foot pedal can be conveniently customised so that the left leg or the right leg could be used to start, stop, and fast forward or rewind the audio as per the convenience of the transcriptionist. Thus, foot pedal is absolutely essential for fast and accurate transcription of voice files. Infiniti is one of the most commonly used foot pedals.

Training and resources for medical transcriptionists

In the case of general transcription good listening skills and fast and accurate typing skills are sufficient to be successful. But in the case of Medical transcription it is entirely different. Medical transcriptionists usually deal with medical records of clients and hence accuracy is paramount. This would mean that the medical transcriptionist knows a lot of medical terminologies so that they accurately transcribe them.

Here is a list of resources commonly used by medical transcriptionists.

  • 2000 American Drug Index by Billups, by Facts and Comparisons, sold through Stedman’s
  • Saunders’ Pharmaceutical Drug Book by Drake & Drake
  • Quick-Look Drug Book
  • The Medical Word Book by Sloane, 3rd Edition, Saunders
  • Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language by Gramercy
  • Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary. Saunders
  • Stedman’s Medical Dictionary
  • Stedman’s Radiology and Oncology Words
  • Stedman’s Dermatology and Immunology Words
  • Stedman’s Orthopedic and Rehab Words
  • Word Book in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine by Sloane/Dusseau, Saunders
  • The Medical and Health Sciences Word Book
  • The Surgical Word Book by Tessier, Saunders
  • Current Medical Terminology by Vera Pyle
  • Medical Abbreviations by Neal M. Davis
  • Stedman’s Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Symbols

Given the specialised nature of this nature aspirants are advised to undergo adequate training before taking up medical transcription assignments. There are a lot of training centers which provide basic to advanced training in medical transcription. Online training is also available.

Medical transcriptionists have to do audio files in areas of different specializations like paediatrics, orthopaedics etc. It also often common that certain medical transcriptionists create a niche of their own in specific areas of the medical field in which they are more comfortable.

Qualities of a good medical transcriptionist

To be a successful medical transcriptionist you have to have the following qualities.

Integrity: A medical transcriptionist deals with confidential client medical records and it is essential to maintain absolute integrity. To be a successful medical transcriptionist, you need to learn to work in an HIPAA compliant environment. This applies for home-based medical transcriptionists also. All efforts should be made to maintain absolute confidentiality of client data.

Promptness: Once you agree to a particular turn around time it is absolutely essential that you deliver the transcript well before the agreed time of delivery.

Attention to detail: Mere transcription of audio files does not complete the work of a transcriptionist. The transcriptionist should ensure that the transcripts are proofread and spell-checked before they are sent to the client. This is especially true in the case of medical transcriptionists who have to be more careful especially with medical terminologies. They should bear in mind that the medical transcripts are important documents which are used as legal documents for disbursal of insurance claims and a variety of other important purposes.

Transcription is one area where you can make money sitting from the comforts of your home. Medical transcription, although more specialized than general transcription, is also a lucrative profession and you can be highly successful with adequate training and the willingness to put in sincere and hard work.