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What Is Medical Transcription?
In recent years the medical field has been going to great lengths to provide ways for doctors to spend more quality time with their patients and less time doing paperwork and updating files. To hone in on this problem the medical transcription profession was created.
Medical transcriptionists, MTs, originally served as secretaries to medical professionals who dictated detailed patient information. The MTs in turn spent hours retyping the dictation on typewriters in order to document it in the patientsí permanent files. Over the years, however, there has been an abundance of modern technology created to make the MTís job easier and more accurate. Typewriters have been replaced with high-tech analog recorders and phone diction systems that allow medical professionals to dictate what they want included in the records.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, doctors can dictate patient histories, operation reports, autopsy reports, progress notes, referral letters, and other documents for MTs to transcribe. After the dictation process is complete, the medical transcriptionists listen to the information and write everything in a clear and grammatically correct fashion, making the files easier to read and understand. The MTs then send the document back to the professional who dictated it to review and revise the document before signing off for its completion. After this process is complete, the final revised copy will become part of the patientís permanent record.
If the process is done correctly the files will be more easily accessible and accurate and will, in turn, help medical offices and hospitals run more smoothly. It is important that doctors and medical transcriptionists establish a strong working relationship and have constant communication for the process to be successful. The doctors must be meticulous in their recordings, making sure to speak clearly and include every piece of information needed for the patientís file. If there are any errors, not only will the physicianís and transcriptionistís jobs be in danger, but the patient may receive the wrong medication or diagnosis. Unfortunately, there are many physicians who simply choose not to review their dictations before handing them over to a transcriptionist and will instead sign off on the recording via an electronic signature. When this occurs, the transcriptionist must be even more meticulous in the writings and is encouraged to voice any concerns about the original dictation. Due to the ever-present time crunch in medical offices and hospitals, these types of errors are not uncommon, making correct transcription that much more vital.
Approximately seven out of ten MTs work in medical offices or hospitals where they serve as administrative assistants in addition to their MT duties. However, there are a large number of individuals who do their transcribing from home offices due to the ease and comfort of an at home job. Often times, health care providers will e-mail their recordings so the MTs are able to create files quickly. MTs are also taking advantage of advancements in speech recognition technology, which translates a recorded voice into written text. In these cases, the MTs sole responsibility is to revise the documents for any grammatical mistakes and inconsistencies in diagnosis or prescriptions. It is extremely beneficial for MTs to always have a well-stocked medical library on hand so that they are be able to double check facts before submitting the final document.
If the process is done correctly the benefits are endless for both medical professionals and their workplaces. The work that MTs do allows for medical offices to run with increased ease due to the accurate and accessible records created according to each individual officeís requirements.
Today, the medical transcription field is becoming one of the fastest growing businesses in the U.S., providing over 100,000 jobs. MTs are paid an average of $11 an hour with the highest pay rising to around $14 an hour. Individuals who work for independent contractors generally earn more than professionals in an established setting. The American Association for Medical Transcription (AAMT) has been a popular meeting place for MTs since its creation in 1978 and is currently the largest association for medical transcriptionists in the world. Professional MTs can join the AAMT for a fee and have access to jobs, seminars, or opportunities to obtain additional credentials and designations to ensure they have the most up-to-date education. In 1999, medical transcriptionists were given a job classification by the U.S. Department of Labor, solidifying their prevalence in the work field.
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