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Medical Transcription, An Emerging Winner

By Jay Stockman

There are distinct objectives to consider when trying to choose a career, including knowing yourself, knowing your options, knowing how you constitute decisions and addressing any barriers to your decision-making. Effective career decision-making requires an abundance of work and energy; this is necessary to establish some degree of satisfaction with your career choice. One such career that has emerged as fulfilling, provocative, well paying and in demand is medical transcription. The employment of medical transcriptionists is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012. A growing and aging population will spur demand for medical transcription services.

Basically, a medical transcriptionist listens to dictated recordings made by a healthcare professional, and transcribes them into medical reports, correspondence, and other administrative info. While listening to the recordings, using pause techniques, sentences are keyed into a word processor, editing as necessary for grammar and clarity. Documents produced include discharge summaries, history and physical examination reports, operative reports, consultation reports, autopsy reports, diagnostic imaging studies, progress notes, and referral letters. These are returned to the health care provider for review, signature, or correction. These documents eventually become part of the patients permanent files, in addition to required insurance documentation.

To understand and accurately transcribe dictated reports into a format that is clear and intelligible for the reader, medical transcriptionists must understand medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, diagnostic procedures, pharmacology, and treatment assessments. As a result, medical transcriptionists should have completed postsecondary training in medical transcription, offered by many vocational schools, community colleges, and distance-learning programs. Completion of a 2-year associate degree or 1-year certificate program, including coursework in anatomy, medical terminology, legal issues relating to healthcare documentation, and English grammar and punctuation, is highly recommended, but not always required.

Working conditions are generally comfortable settings, such as hospitals, physicians offices, transcription service offices, clinics, laboratories, medical libraries, government medical facilities, or at home. Many medical transcriptionists work from home as employees for hospitals, and transcription services or as self-employed, independent contractors. The average salary for a medical transcriptionist is between $10.87 and $15.63. With experience, medical transcriptionists can advance to supervisory positions, home-based work, editing, consulting, or teaching.

With the increased demand for standardized records, there will be rapid employment growth in offices of physicians or other health practitioners, especially in large group practices. Medical transcription is a career that should fit your lifestyle, and bring you prosperity, and fulfillment.


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