medical-transcription

What is Medical Transcription

We’ve all had that moment at the doctor, staring at paperwork trying to accurately recall a medical history that dates years back. What you may not have considered is how this challenge extends to healthcare professionals, as they simultaneously keep up with hundreds of patient records with the help of medical transcription.

Medical transcription is a major aid to the medical world and there are over 59,000 medical transcriptionist jobs in the US, all helping to process and interpret vital medical information relayed from professionals. 

Medical transcription can also simplify a patient’s concerns or help to clear up any misunderstandings.

Ex: “I felt a little confused when my doctor explained my diagnosis to me, I couldn’t really understand any of the medical terminologies and it felt a little rushed.”

By having a transcription of the appointment, a doctor or nurse can recall the initial concerns and help the patient to better understand.

Today, we’ll share everything there is to know about the role of a medical transcriptionist and demonstrate how medical transcription keeps our healthcare industry flowing smoothly.

What is Medical Transcription?

Medical transcription (MT) is the process of interpreting voice reports from medical professionals into formal text reports, typically a medical report or patient record. Think of the reporter in a courtroom who you see writing everything that is spoken, but in a medical setting. Medical transcriptionists will listen to voice recordings made by doctors and nurses and transcribe the information into text format. 

Medical transcriptionist skills involve having a thorough understanding of medical terminology as well as a keen ability for interpreting spoken words. You obviously hope to have someone who is not only contempt but sharp when it comes to listening and writing your medical information, so it’s natural that an adept ear and fast fingers are prerequisites to the role.  

What Duties are Involved in a Medical Transcription Service?

Medical transcription services entail more than just sitting and typing, and healthcare professionals require several day-to-day duties from their transcriptionists. These duties include:

Transcribing the voice recordings of a patient’s medical history

When a doctor or nurse asks you about your medical history, there’s a good chance that conversation will end up with a medical transcriptionist. These professionals will send your spoken medical dictation in the form of a voice recording, and from there it is the duty of a medical transcriptionist to convert it into a written format that can be used for diagnosis and treatment. 

These reports have a major impact on making sure you get proper care, so the importance of medical transcription goes without saying.

In today’s healthcare scene, many transcription teams and hospitals utilize speech recognition, transcription, and other AI software for this duty, as it helps knock out some of the busy work that’s involved in the position. 

Interpreting medical information and formatting it in notes and reports

While transcribing a conversation may seem easy at first glance, you have to remember the medical nature of these recordings. 

The average person does not have an extensive knowledge of all the medical terminology and anatomy involved in their healthcare, and it’s vital for a medical transcriptionist to have a strong knowledge of these terms and pharmaceutical topics. 

You’re not only expected to have this knowledge as a medical transcriptionist, but you need to be able to accurately interpret and format that data in the form of notes, reports, records, and summaries.

Entering patient info into the healthcare provider’s records system

This is one of the more important duties that an MT has, and it’s often done alongside patient reports. Once a patient’s medical information has been collected, a transcriptionist will input the data into an electronic records system. Imagine the history form that they give you at a doctor’s office, but virtualized. 

Once all of the data has been imputed, it serves as a patient record that doctors and nurses can easily recall and refer to in appointments or emergencies. This step saves you from the hassle of reviewing your medical history each time you have an appointment, so it’s definitely important that the information gets imputed correctly.

Reviewing and editing the transcriptions from speech recognition apps

Medical transcriptionists will review the resulting text from speech recognition apps to make sure that the formatting, terminology, and overall structure of the reports are best for the patient’s care. While transcription software does an excellent job of automatically transcribing dialogues and recordings, there may be small adjustments or paraphrasing that could be helpful for interpretation. 
By reviewing and making any necessary changes to reports, transcriptionists allow all the pieces to function as they should. Doctors and nurses can scan and refer to patient reports with ease, transcriptionists can utilize the software without any hiccups, and patients will receive the most optimized form of care.

This video does a good job of briefly demonstrating the day-to-day of a medical transcriptionist and is definitely worth the watch.

AI technologies, such as speech recognition, continue to find their way into the business world, and we’ve witnessed the growing capabilities of AI in the past year. AI technologies are continuously developed to solve problems in every industry, including software such as:

  • Image recognition technology is used by businesses to identify and analyze visual content – such as faces, products, defects, or damage to items – allowing for accurate and swift decision-making.

  • Speech recognition software, as we talked about earlier, helps dictate calls, recordings, and conversations. You’ve likely even encountered this technology in your every day, as your car or phone probably has some sort of speech recognition capability for hands-free commands. 

  • Chatbots, while they can be pesky to the consumer, provide businesses with tons of value in automating customer interactions. If you’ve ever gone through a “live chat” for customer support, chances are you started by speaking to a chatbot.

  • Natural language generation has generated a lot of buzz over social media in recent months. This technology can produce descriptions, reports, and other written content that helps businesses to expedite long writing processes.

  • Sentiment analysis is one of the more complex technologies, as it helps to gauge how certain changes to a product affect customers and helps to identify certain trends in customer responses. If you stopped going to your favorite ice cream shop because they ditched your favorite flavor, a sentiment analysis software would help them to realize their loss.

How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist

While there is no standardized career path for becoming an MT, there are several programs and steps that you can take to achieve the knowledge and skill required.

1. Complete post-secondary education, such as vocational school or community college, or a medical transcription course 

We strongly recommend you complete a medical transcription course or program, as you’ll cover important information like medical terminology, anatomy, and pharmacology. Having this background will make you a much more capable and attractive candidate.

2. Consider becoming a certified medical transcriptionist through AHDI and obtain a medical transcription certificate

The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) offers two programs and certificates for prospective transcriptionists, including the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) and Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS).

By obtaining one of these medical transcription certificates, you’ll demonstrate to any healthcare organization that you’re proficient in medical transcription and check another box on their list.

3. Sharpen your skills and gain experience through an internship or on-the-job training

There are several medical transcriptionist skills that may not come naturally to you. If you haven’t spent a lot of time stuck to a keyboard and you aren’t the best at converting what you hear into actual words, you may want to spend some time working on these skills by applying to work under an experienced MT or within a medical setting.

These skills are crucial to working as a medical transcriptionist. You’ll also need to become familiar with medical software and electronic health records.

You rarely will start as a medical transcriptionist without having specific experience, perhaps even with certification, so having experience as a general transcriptionist or under a medical provider will be a significant boost to your resume. 

4. Update your resume, Apply for jobs

After you’ve obtained the proper education and experience for becoming a medical transcriptionist, update your resume with your information and begin searching for job opportunities. There are also a number of medical transcription freelance jobs available online, and many choose to pursue a work-from-home medical transcription role. 
Sites like Upwork, Glassdoor, and Google have applications available, and you should always remember that most people will need to apply to a large number of these postings before securing a spot, especially if it’s your first time as an MT.

Remember, becoming a medical transcriptionist requires hard work, commitment, and ongoing learning. There are many medical transcription websites that contain helpful information for the journey, and it’s a great choice if you want a flexible and rewarding career.

The Future of Medical Transcription

The future of medical transcription is defined by the advancement in technology. Electronic health records have now revolutionized the way that patient records are documented and managed, and this has massively reduced the need for manual transcription. Doctors can enter our information directly into their system and medical transcriptionists will continue to aid this process, likely with the use of transcription software.

The healthcare industry is increasingly adopting medical transcription services and software to create greater cost-efficiency for their organizations. This has led to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 7% decline in medical transcriptionist jobs by 2030, and while this may seem like it spells doom for transcriptionists, there will always be a value in the human touch in the process.

We should view these technological advancements to be a help to medical transcriptionists, rather than their competition, and it’s likely that we’ll continue to see AI become even more integrated into medical transcription services. The demand for medical transcription services continues to expand alongside the healthcare industry, and with our aging population, the need for accurate and timely care is dire. 

There will likely be a continued need for skilled and knowledgeable medical transcriptionists, no matter how far the technology develops. We also need to stay aware of the current challenges we’re faced with and how they may change in the future. Cybersecurity breaches and data privacy issues continue to be a growing and present threat in the industry, and electronic health records can create vulnerabilities in patient data. 

Overall, the future of medical transcription will likely be driven by the continued development of AI transcription technology and the ongoing demand for proper and accurate medical reporting. As the potential of healthcare continues to evolve, medical transcriptionists will have to stay updated, educated, and proficient with modern technologies and tools for the job.

Best Medical Transcription Software Recommendation: Notta

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If you’re a medical transcriptionist or an aspiring MT and want to try transcription software for yourself, you may want to give Notta a try.

Notta is a speech-to-text online converter that allows you to import your recordings and generate transcriptions. As a medical transcriptionist, this software could save you a lot of time and make the job much easier. 

With electronic health records being more and more present in the medical world, using automatic transcription software should lighten the workload for a medical transcriptionist and allow you to get a head start on any electronic health records.

You can perform medical transcription in Notta in just a few easy steps:

1. Go to Notta.ai and create a free account.

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Locate the ‘Sign Up’ button in the top right corner, create an account using one of many methods, and navigate to the Notta dashboard.

Notta supports 104 transcription languages, your default language will be asked the first time you enter Notta. You can change your language by clicking the top right corner profile and selecting “Personal Settings”.

2. Transcribe audio in real time.

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Notta can be used to transcribe audio to text in real-time. You’ll want to navigate to the “Start Recording” button on the home page, authorize the use of your microphone device, then record the patient’s dictation of their medical history. Notta will record and transcribe this audio and automatically switch lines based on intonation or pause in tone.

3. Import your audio recordings.

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If you want to transcribe pre-recorded audio, you’ll locate and click the “Import Audio” button on the right side of the home page. Find your recording file, and let it upload to Notta. As a medical transcriptionist, this is where you’ll want to select any voice recording from doctors or practicians containing patient information.

4. Allow Notta to transcribe the audio.

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After importing the file, Notta will automatically create an accurate transcription of your audio that should be ready to edit after just a few minutes. This time will depend on the size of your audio file and your current network status.

5. Add notes, highlight key timestamps, and edit the transcription to include correct medical formatting.

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This is where a medical transcriptionist’s expertise is vital, as the transcription should be reviewed to ensure that it correctly recorded any medical terminologies or abbreviations. You should also be sure to add any notes or change any formatting to fit the guidelines of your healthcare organization.

When you open the transcription, you’re able to click and edit any text just as if it were a document. Notes, highlights, and formatting can also be added on the sidebar or by hovering over the toolbar that appears above your cursor. 

You can also search for content by clicking the magnifying glass icon at the top to search and help quickly find text.

6. Easily export in various formats.

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Notta allows you to export recordings and transcripts as multiple different file types (TXT, DOCX, PDF) which should allow storing patient information and records to be very easy. Having an automated transcription will also allow you to get a head start on inputting any data into an electronic health record.

Reasons to Become a Medical Transcriptionist

If you’re considering a career as a medical transcriptionist, there are numerous benefits to support the decision. 

  • Medical transcriptionists have the flexibility of working from home or remotely. Medical transcription work from home jobs are becoming more and more prevalent with advancing technology, and if you’re looking for a job opportunity where you don’t have to make a dreadful morning commute on a daily basis, becoming an MT may be right for you. 

  • Medical transcription allows you to work in the healthcare industry without having direct contact with patients. If you’re an introvert but have a passion for healthcare, medical transcription may be your place to shine. As an MT you can work behind the scenes and still provide plenty of aid to patients and professionals.

  • A four-year degree is not required to become a medical transcriptionist. This makes it a viable career for those who do not want to pursue a four-year degree and are looking for a job with the potential for career growth or advancement. 

As we mentioned earlier, certification is a huge plus and you almost certainly won’t be able to get the position without good knowledge of medical terminology, but a four-year degree is not absolutely required. You’ll also have plenty of potential for advancement to management or other related fields, such as medical billing or coding.

  • You’ll be working in an ever-expanding industry. Medical transcription is one of the fastest ways that you can enter the healthcare industry, and the demand for proper healthcare will never cease to expand. This not only gives you job security but a dynamic and flexible work environment that operates on the cutting edge of new technologies and software.

Example of a Medical Transcription

Patient Name: John Doe

Age: 45

Date of Service: March 11, 2023

Chief Complaint: The patient reports chest pain and shortness of breath.

History of Illnesses: The patient reports sudden chest pain and shortness of breath while he was resting at home. The pain is described as a tightness and pressure in the chest that extends to his left arm. He also reports feeling lightheaded and dizzy. The patient denies any previous history of chest pain or heart disease.

Past Medical History: The patient has a history of hypertension. He takes medications for the condition but cannot recall the name.

Physical Examination: The patient appears uncomfortable and is breathing rapidly. His blood pressure is 160/100 mmHg, pulse is 110 beats per minute, and respiratory rate is 24 breaths per minute. Heart sounds are regular with no murmurs. Lung sounds are clear. The patient is alert but appears anxious.

Assessment and Plan: The patient is exhibiting symptoms consistent with acute coronary syndrome. He will be immediately transferred to the cardiac lab for further evaluation and treatment. Nitroglycerin and aspirin have been administered. The patient's blood pressure and oxygen saturation will be closely monitored. An EKG will be performed to evaluate for any cardiac issues.

FAQs

1. Is medical transcription a good career?

Absolutely. Medical transcription freelance jobs and hired positions provide an excellent career for those interested in healthcare and looking for a flexible work environment, with the potential to work from home. It provides you with the opportunity to work behind the scenes of the healthcare industry without making direct contact with patients and you’ll likely have opportunities for advancement and growth. 

If you’re motivated to learn the proper knowledge and maintain a keen attention to detail, becoming a medical transcriptionist will reward you with a promising career that provides job security.

2. How do I start medical transcription?

You’ll find that there’s more than one way to start a career in medical transcription. There are however several medical courses and certifications that can be completed to demonstrate proficiency in the role, and you should almost certainly look to obtain these forms of training before looking for a job. 

After completing the training you can begin looking for entry-level positions in hospitals and other healthcare environments, and you should be sure to maintain your skills and stay up to date on medical practices and software.

3. Does medical transcription pay well?

Indeed reports the average medical transcription salary in the United States at $17.12 per hour, or $35,609 a year. This doesn’t account for the wide range of potential pay on a case-by-case scenario as well as possible benefits, and many transcriptionists choose their own schedule which may alter the hours worked.

Salary.com reports a higher number with a median medical transcription salary of $49,776, which is an agreeable salary given the informal requirements of the position. At the end of the day, the average pay for medical transcription will heavily depend on how much you choose to work, your location, your qualification, and your experience.

4. How does medical transcription compare to medical coding?

Many people are unaware of the differences when it comes to medical transcription vs medical coding. Medical transcription skills involve transcribing recordings of patient histories, while medical coding involves translating diagnoses, treatments, and procedures into the standardized coding for billing purposes. You’ll likely find more opportunities and career growth in medical coding as it deals closely with the revenue stream of the healthcare industry, however, medical transcription is an excellent position to precede medical coding.

5. Will medical transcriptionists stay in demand?

While we explained earlier that medical transcription jobs are predicted to decline in the next 10 years, human transcriptionists will continue to be required to edit and make sure that transcriptions come out accurately and maintain the correct medical formatting. 

Because accuracy is such a vital component of the position, you want someone who can ensure that what is being recorded is not only correct but properly reflects how a patient should be cared for. As long as there is a need for patient care, we expect medical transcriptionists to remain in demand.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now understand the duties involved in medical transcription and the process required to become a medical transcriptionist yourself. If you’re looking for a career that offers flexibility, growth, and the opportunity to work from home, medical transcription is a solid choice.

If you’re already a medical transcriptionist and have yet to try transcription software, Notta might be a good choice for you. The basic plan is free to try and can provide a lot of use in automatically transcribing audio recordings.

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