Schools Training

Medical Transcriptionists Make Doctors Understandable

20 JUN 2013
Career Path : Healthcare


The reliability and integrity of medical records is of utmost importance to any healthcare system. Poorly organized hospitals and clinics may have missing or incomplete records, resulting in costly duplication of efforts, service and patient confusion, and even dangerous risk to patients. After each patient visit, physicians dictate notes of their analysis onto a digital recorder or Dictaphone, to be added to the patient’s medical record. Medical transcriptionists are responsible for listening to and typing these recordings for permanent records, saving doctors time while preventing potential errors caused by illegible handwriting.


A medical transcriptionist must be an excellent typist, skilled at producing clear and understandable documents by interpreting sometimes incoherent speech. They must respect the integrity of information while having a strong familiarity with medical language and terms. Medical workers have been known to interrupt their diagnosis with side conversations, give directions to ignore parts of a transcription or leave out relevant details. In the latter scenario, a transcriptionist may need to correspond with the doctor to retrieve the necessary data but most often they must interpret the recordings with minimal additional input.


Transcription dates back to the 1960s and the profession has advanced along with the tools and technologies applied, from typewriters to a steady progression of computers, magnetic belts to cassettes to digital recordings. Newer speech recognition technology has enabled health professionals to create electronic documents simply by dictating medical records to a computer. The software employed has been slow to decipher the diverse medical jargon and it is expected that skilled medical transcriptionists will be needed more than ever to edit the documents to create accurate final copies.


The industry is another that is changing as a result of outsourcing. This growing trend to contract out services is making it possible for more transcriptionists to work from home offices, either as employees of hospitals or clinics, or as independent entrepreneurs. Telecommuting, part-time and flexible jobs as information processing professionals are expected to grow at an above average rate over the next decade. These jobs demand a higher skill level than that offered by medical office assistant programs, and those seeking to enter this market are encouraged to enroll in focused medical transcriptionist training that provide intensive preparation.


The flexible schedule offered in this type of employment is a major attraction for many but it requires professionals that are highly reliable and accurate. As the general healthcare industry becomes increasingly interconnected, medical transcriptionists may need top communication skills to be in contact with various service specialists, physicians and even medication providers with pharmacy technician training. There is legislative talk about adopting stricter standards for more flexible and intelligent health records, with data that can be extracted and integrated more easily. With the ever increasing healthcare demand and necessity for accurate medical records, there appears to be a bright future for qualified medical transcriptionists.

Visit Thompson Career College for more information on focused medical transcriptionist programs.