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Medical Transcription and All you need to know about it

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

Medical transcription is an allied health profession dealing with the process of transcribing voice-recorded medical reports that are dictated by physicians, nurses, and other healthcare practitioners.

What you need to know about Medical Transcription.

Medical Transcription is the process of converting the medical notes dictated by doctors and other medical professionals into text. It is part of the healthcare industry that renders and edits doctor dictated reports, procedures, and notes in an electronic format in order to create files representing the treatment history of patients. Medical reports can be voice files, notes taken during a lecture, or other spoken material. These are dictated over the phone or uploaded digitally via the Internet or through smartphone apps.

Medical Transcription involves complex processes that require an eye for detail; medical transcription is a unique profession. It necessitates not only listening and typing skills, but also interpreting and formalizing medical reports accurately. Health practitioners dictate what they have done after consulting the patient or maybe performing procedures on patients, and MTs transcribe the oral dictation and/or edit reports that have gone through speech recognition software.

Long before, medical stenographers replaced physicians as the recorders of medical information, taking doctors' dictation in shorthand. With the creation of audio recording devices, it became possible for physicians and their transcriptions to work asynchronously, thus beginning the profession of healthcare documentation as we currently know it.

What are they required to do?

Day to day work of a Medical Transcriptionist will be: document typing and formatting functions according to established criteria or format, transcribing the spoken word of the patient's care information into a written, easily readable form. They are required to understand the terms, know the correct spelling of all terms and words, and correct medical terminology or dictation errors. MTs also edit the transcribed documents and returns the completed documents in a timely fashion.

All transcription reports must comply with medico-legal concerns, policies and procedures, and laws under patient confidentiality. Confidentiality like in all sectors is an essential factor in Medical Transcription as well.

Medical transcription has existed since the beginning of the 20th century when standardization of medical data became critical to research. Earlier, medical transcription was done at the hospitals themselves. Transcribers performed the work on electric typewriters, but as computer hardware and software became more sophisticated, hospitals started sending their dictations digitally via computers to a service instead of transcribing them at the hospital. Hospitals found outsourcing a better option as they were able to save time and reduce hospital expenditures on office space and computers.

Medical transcription companies employ medical transcriptionists who listen to these records and process the data into a word processor. The records include patients’ history, reports, clinical notes, office notes, medical recommendations, operation reports, letters, lab reports, etc. The transcribed medical records are then sent back electronically.

Is Medical Transcription a good career choice?

Medical transcription is still the primary mechanism for a physician to clearly communicate with other healthcare providers who access the patient record, to advise them on the state of the patient's health and past/current treatment, and to assure continuity of care.

Though considering the growth in technology one might think that Medical Transcriptionists can be replaced by machines but that is not true. There are some things that machines cannot do. Automations have replaced most of the work that transcriptionists do but they make mistakes and thus end up with a document that is not accurate.

This is one of the reasons why organizations still prefer hiring Medical Transcriptionists rather than relying on expensive software that gives faulty outcomes. These days Transcriptionists are hired just to cross-verify this automation with the audio and correct them. To answer the question of whether Medical Transcription is a good career choice, it depends on the type of work and the nature of the organization you will be working for.

Some transcriptionists will be working on site. Their job is permanent, well paid and more reliable. Some on the other hand will be working from home, either live or with recordings. This is well paid too and more like a second career option or a good source of income while you have other priorities to look into. Some people chose to do this as a part-time job, either on-site or off-site, either live or with recording.

Career growth and other opportunities in Canada

According to the Labour Market Need (2019 - 2028), There is a good opportunity in British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan; fair opportunity in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Ontario; limited in the rest of the territories.

All Medical Transcriptionists can work as general transcriptionists but not all general transcriptionists can work as medical transcriptionists. Medical Transcriptionists have wider job prospects as they can apply to other industries to work. They can choose to work as court reporters, transcribers, subtitling opportunities, and much more.

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