Medical transcriptionists listen to voice recordings that physicians and other health professionals make and convert them into written reports. They interpret medical terminology and abbreviations in preparing patients’ medical histories, discharge summaries and other documents. The documents they produce become part of a patient’s permanent file. Medical transcriptionists use audio playback equipment, often including a headset and foot pedal – to control the recording playback speed – that are connected to their computer. They use word-processing and other specialized software, as well as medical reference materials as needed.
To do their work, medical transcriptionists must become familiar with medical words, anatomy and physiology, diagnostic procedures, pharmacology, and treatment assessments. Their ability to understand and correctly transcribe what the health professional has said is critical to reducing the chance that patients will get ineffective or even harmful treatments. They are part of the team that ensures high-quality patient care. Medical transcriptionists who work in doctors’ offices may have other duties, such as answering phones or greeting patients.TCC programs that are right for you:Health Information and Informatics Management Programs
Most medical transcriptionists work for hospitals or in physicians' offices. Some work for companies that provide transcription services to healthcare establishments, and others are self-employed. Many transcriptionists work from home offices, receiving dictation and submitting drafts electronically. Most medical transcriptionists work full-time. Medical transcriptionists who work from home may work outside typical business hours or have some flexibility in determining their schedules.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical transcriptionists is expected to grow 6 percent between 2010 and 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. The volume of healthcare services is expected to continue to increase, resulting in a growing number of medical tests and procedures, all of which will require transcription. At the same time, technological advances in recent years have changed the way medical transcription is done. In the past, medical transcriptionists would listen to an entire dictation to produce a transcribed report. Today, many medical documents are prepared with the use of back-end speech recognition technology, in which specialized software automatically prepares an initial draft of a report. The transcriptionist then reviews the draft for accuracy, listening to the original recording as needed. Such technological advances are expected to continue, making the individual transcriptionist far more productive and limiting employment growth overall.
Career information courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.