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==== ====Visit our web site to to get our free medical transcription news letter and take a look at our medicaltranscrionist membership.http://medicaltranscriptionhelpdesk.com/membership-area==== ====Introduction to Medical TranscriptionMedical Transcription is the process of converting voice dictation (typically either cassette or digitalformat) into a permanent written record utilizing word processing equipment and software.Each day in hospitals all over the country, thousands of patients are admitted and discharged.Examinations are conducted, procedures are performed and recommendations are made. It is notuncommon for multiple physicians to be involved in a simple procedure for a single patient.Radiologists, Pathologists, Anesthesiologists, Surgeons, and a host of other medical specialistsmust all coordinate their efforts to ensure that patient care is both adequate and appropriate.Underpinning all of these activities is a complex web of medical and patient information. Eachpatient-related activity and procedure must be meticulously documented and then added to thepatients permanent record. Physicians and medical record handlers alike must be extremelycareful to ensure that detailed patient identification information accompanies each procedure andexamination report to avert potentially disastrous mix-ups. Over time, all of this informationaccumulates in a centralized medical records repository where it serves as a critical resource forpatient care - facilitating accurate diagnoses and appropriate treatments. Indeed, timely patientcare often hinges on the ability of Radiology, Pathology, and other specialty departments toquickly conduct their examinations and report their findings.Evolution and History of Medical TranscriptionIn the past, patient medical charts consisted of a series of abbreviated handwritten notes that werefunneled into the patients file for interpretation by the primary physician responsible for diagnosingailments and prescribing treatment. Ultimately, this hodge-podge of handwritten notes and typedreports was consolidated into a single patient file and physically stored along with thousands ofother patient records in a wall of filing cabinets in the medical records department.Whenever the need arose to review the records of a specific patient, the patients file would beretrieved from the filing cabinet and delivered to the requesting physician. To enhance this manualprocess, many medical record documents were produced in duplicate or triplicate by means ofcarbon copy.In recent years things have changed considerably. Walls of filing cabinets have given way todesktop computers connected to powerful mainframe systems where patient records are preparedand archived digitally. This digital format allows for immediate remote retrieval by any physicianwho is authorized to review the patient information. Reports are stored electronically and printedselectively as the need arises.
While the transition from a paper based to an electronic format will take years to complete,considerable progress has been made. Handwritten reports are largely a thing of the past. Verbaldictation is now by far the most common method for documenting and reporting the results ofexaminations and procedures. Physicians generally use either a cassette based voice dictationsystem or a digital voice dictation system to record their findings. Dictating reports verbally notonly allows physicians to be more thorough in their reporting, it also saves them a great deal oftime. The Wall Street Journal recently reported the results of a study conducted by the Associationof Legal Administrators suggesting that verbal dictation is the fastest way to create a document.The study states that "a 245-word document takes 9.34 minutes to create with an electronicdictaphone, compared with 16.46 minutes on a personal computer and 16.49 minutes by hand."(WSJ, Tuesday, October 22, 1996, page A1, column 5). Given the salaries of most physicians, thecumulative productivity savings associated with these technological enhancements isconsiderable.The process of converting voice dictation to a typewritten format is known as transcription.Traditionally a staff of skilled medical transcriptionists working in the medical records departmentof the hospital has accomplished the work of transcribing medical records. In the early years ofmedical transcription it was not uncommon for very large hospitals to have staffs of 40 or 50medical transcriptionists working one or more shifts. A transcription supervisor, who in turnreported to the Medical Records Director, generally oversaw these transcriptionists.The Medical Transcription Outsourcing TrendIncreasingly, traditional hospitals are coming under competitive attack by more efficient managedcare organizations. In an effort to remain competitive, many hospitals have turned to outsourcingas a means of cutting costs. Many of the processes that were previously performed internally arenow being contracted out to third parties. Medical transcription is no exception. The outsourcing oftranscription and other functions relieves hospitals of the administrative headaches and overheadburdens associated with internal production and allows them to focus their attention on improvingservice and lowering costs.This new competitive climate has driven many hospitals out of business. Those organizations thathave survived have done so by becoming more efficient and cost-conscious. There isconsiderable evidence to suggest that contracting out medical transcription is a much less costlyalternative to producing reports internally. Most savvy healthcare providers today understand thisand are responding appropriately. The significant cost-cutting pressures which continue to drivethe industry toward consolidation, managed care and capitation virtually guarantee that theoutsourcing trend will not only continue but accelerate in coming years.This proliferation of outsourcing agreements has spawned a new generation of small medicaltranscription companies intent on carving out a piece of the pie. Interestingly, in spite of its rapidgrowth, the medical transcription industry is still considered a cottage industry. While there are afew truly national players, the industry is at this point still dominated by the hundreds of small localtranscription companies located wherever hospitals are found.Opportunities in Medical TranscriptionThe outlook for quality medical transcriptionists have never been greater. Lucrative opportunities
abound today in hospitals, clinics, HMOs, and in the hundreds of Medical Transcriptioncontracting companies located throughout the country.The timing is excellent for anyone interested in entering this exciting and lucrative field. Like anycareer move, success will require patience and perseverance, but the opportunity to enter themedical transcription market has never been greater than it is today.Benefits of a Medical Transcription CareerThe demand for Medical Transcriptionists is very great. There is currently a shortage of qualifiedMedical Transcriptionists - and demographic trends suggest that the outlook will continue to befavorable for some time to come. Good Medical Transcriptionists typically have no problemobtaining and maintaining employment. Consider the following benefits of becoming a professionalMedical Transcriptionist:In-demand ProfessionExcellent Income PotentialFlexible HoursGrowth IndustryExceptional Home Based Career OpportunitiesPotential to get your own Clients and Build a Lucrative BusinessBasic Qualifications for a Career in Medical TranscriptionMedical Transcription is a highly skilled profession. It requires an attention to detail and an abilityto recognize and understand technical terminology. Good typing skills are a must. Typically anaccurate typing speed of 50-70 words per minute is a prerequisite for most positions. Obviouslythe faster you type the more money you will be able to make as most pay is on a production basis.Spelling and grammar skills are also vitally important. On-line dictionaries and spell checks arealways available to assist you, but they should not be relied upon completely. You should feelrelatively well grounded in spelling and grammar before you decide to enter this field.Most of the skill that you will acquire as a transcriptionist will come over time. Experience is thegreat teacher. Prior to gaining hands on experience, it is usually wise to go through a formalcourse to gain a foundation of knowledge and practical experience.Getting Started in Medical TranscriptionMedical Transcription is a very specialized field and requires extensive training. Once trained,however, the demand is very great. One of the most difficult parts of breaking into this lucrativeindustry is receiving the requisite training. Your income potential will typically be determined byyour skill level. And skill level will be a function of training and experience. Unfortunately, you willfind that most employers will be reluctant to hire inexperienced individuals. The learning curve canbe quite steep and it will be difficult to find an employer that is willing to invest the time and moneynecessary to train a person.There are a number of opportunities to receive the in-depth training necessary to become a
proficient Medical Transcriptionist. Many Technical Schools have full-time programs designed toprovide a basic level of proficiency. The drawbacks with these programs is that they tend to beexpensive and they generally require a full-time commitment - which involves quitting a job andforegoing income during the course of study.An alternative to these full-time classroom training programs is the online Home Study Course.Home study certainly requires a more disciplined attitude, but the cost / benefits as well as theability to work at your own pace and in your own home are appealing. With an online Home StudyCourse there is no need to quit your present job - until you have achieved a basic skill level andare ready to begin your new career.Indeed, it is often possible to begin your first Medical Transcription job on a part time basis in theevenings following completion of the home study course while maintaining your presentemployment. This "earn while you learn" approach is a good way to develop additional proficiencywhile still retaining the safety net of a full time job.Christopher L. Dunn has been active in operating and training aspects of the medical transcriptionindustry for the past 17 years.For more information on a home based career in medical transcription please visit more of theauthors websites:http://www.medical-transcription-school.comhttp://www.at-home-medical-transcription.comArticle Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Christopher_L._Dunn==== ====Visit our web site to to get our free medical transcription news letter and take a look at our medicaltranscrionist membership.http://medicaltranscriptionhelpdesk.com/membership-area==== ====