Working as a medical transcriptionist can be a pretty good career. The pay is decent and you have a fair chance of being able to work from home. It’s not the easiest of careers in some ways, however, and you can mess things up pretty well. Some things you can fix easily, others are more of a problem.
1. Fail to get a good medical transcriptionist education.
If you want to get a good start to your medical transcription career, you need a good education. That means choosing a good quality school for your training.
There are a number of schools out there, but not all of them will do a good job. I have a preference for some of the good online medical transcription training programs out there, as you can do them at home and at your own pace. Just make sure they’re offering a good value for the money. You want them to have a good reputation with a number of employers. They should also require significant transcription practice with real doctor dictation.
2. Fail to use appropriate reference materials in your work.
Especially as a new transcriptionist, you won’t know everything the doctor expects you to transcribe. You will need to look up medical terminology, research drug names and generally learn what the doctor is talking about so that you can accurately transcribe the report.
Accuracy is demanded of medical transcriptionists. 98% or better is required by most employers. You can’t afford to make a lot of mistakes just because you didn’t quite understand something. It’s better to look things up or leave a blank to be filled in by someone who can get it right.
3. Fail to use productivity tools.
There are some great productivity tools available to medical transcriptionists. One of my favorites is the word expander. Some employers will provide one, and you can usually add in your own expansions to make it even more useful. It’s a huge help to your productivity to be able to get a full sentence for typing just a few characters. It’s especially beneficial if you’re paid by the line.
4. Fail to keep patient confidentiality.
Medical information is extremely private. There are a number of laws requiring you to keep patient confidentiality in your work. You are not to discuss reports you’ve typed with other people, and if by some chance you type a report for someone you know, you are not to share that information with that person, even if they really want to know and haven’t heard from their doctor. All you can do is tell them to call their doctor for it.
This also means you have to take appropriate steps to protect patient information when it is in your possession. If you work at home, this means keeping your computer secure from viruses and spyware, and not allowing others in your household to look at your work. Any printed records you keep must be shredded when it comes time to dispose of them.
This is the one that can get you fired most quickly if you don’t obey it. Patient confidentiality is a huge deal, and if you aren’t careful enough about it, your employer will not want to take the chance of keeping you on payroll.