Medical Transcription – Myths and Realities: The Basics

Unless you have some sort of super anti-spam e-mail blocker installed on your computer, you have probably received e-mails with titles such as “Make $150,000 a year as an at home medical transcriptionist – no investment required”. Many of these e-mails are nothing but solicitations to try and get you to buy some sort of e-book, or other item, that will teach you how to become a medical transcriptionist. While remembering that many of these e-mails are nothing more than spam, it is equally important to remember that many of them are legitimate.

To start with, medical transcription is one of the fastest-growing of the medical related career fields. A study conducted about 6 years ago found that transcription, and related fields, would continue tremendous growth for many years to come. This is due in part to the rapid advance in the number of retiring “baby boomers”. As well, virtually all medical career fields are nearly recession proof, as no matter what the economic climate, people are always going to need medical care; thus, doctors and other medical professionals are always going to need medical transcriptionists.

In essence, a trained medical transcriptionist can take the notes (most commonly being voice recordings) of doctors, nurses, etc., and translate them into various forms, including medical reports, charts, etc. Potential medical transcriptionists will need good listening skills, as medical terminology may sound the same, but have different meanings depending upon the context in which it’s used. The final results of a medical transcriptionists work must be 100% accurate, as this work is what’s used to document a patient’s medical history. As well, a transcriptionist’s work may be utilized during certain legal proceedings, so everything must always be perfect. Legal matters can hinge entirely on the accuracy of the transcriptions. And, no matter what the outcome of the proceedings, all transcripts most generally become a matter of public record.

A medical transcriptionist is normally employed in one of the following 4 ways:

In an actual hospital
In a doctor’s office, clinic, or other outpatient medical care facility
In labs, medical schools, third-party transcription services, etc.
As independent or “home-based” medical transcriptionists

Most appealing to potential new transcriptionists is the possibility of working from home. While being home-based has its benefits, it has its challenges as well. The lack of a normal “9 to 5” work schedule, and structured office environment are two good examples of such challenges. As well, if you decide to become home-based, you will likely need to form your own business legally, set up your tax requirements, etc. All of this is really not anywhere near as difficult as it may sound. But all potential home-based transcriptionists will want to keep these things in mind.

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