One of the big things new and current medical transcriptionists are concerned about are the changes in the industry. They’re a big deal. Electronic medical records and voice recognition are changing the need for medical transcriptionists, and some have lost their jobs over the changes.
This doesn’t so much mean you shouldn’t study medical transcription as it means you should study for the changes so you can work with them. Giving up on a career that is still considered to have good growth potential isn’t a smart move. Knowing where that career is moving to and preparing for it is a much better move.
This is something you can do as a part of you medical transcription education. Some schools do offer additional courses to help you prepare to become a medical transcription editor. This does still require the full medical transcriptionist training, but you also learn how to edit reports created by voice recognition software. Given that the software doesn’t do everything perfectly, this is still a part that doctors need medical transcriptionists to handle for them.
You can expect an editor position to have a different pay scale from a transcriptionist position. Corrections should be possible to handle more quickly than transcribing a complete report, and so you should be able to get through more of them at a lower cost per report to the doctor.
It’s also helpful to remember that it’s not just doctor offices and hospitals that use medical transcriptionists. Dentists, veterinarians, chiropractors, pharmaceutical companies doing studies on new medications – any place that needs to keep track of medical information is going to use medical transcriptionists. They aren’t all going to make the switch to voice recognition right away.
Working as a transcriptionist is also a way to get into other medical work if that’s your interest. Most other positions won’t allow you to be home based as transcription may, but when you’re ready to take a new direction with your career, you’ll have options. You’ll know a lot about medical reports and medical information in general, and that’s a useful skill in other careers. You could do proofreading for medical journals, train other medical transcriptionists, and so forth.
Another important factor to remember is that while electronic medical records make it a matter of pointing and clicking to record the basics of patient care, they don’t cover everything a well dictated and transcribed report does. There’s valuable information that should still be dictated. You provide the skills to help with the electronic medical records and files generated by the speech recognition software, and you can keep yourself in demand.
The change in required skills is a big part of what’s driving the fear surrounding the future of medical transcription. Not everyone wants to learn the new skills when the old are so comfortable. Make yourself comfortable with a wide range of skills for this industry and you have a better shot at keeping yourself employed for the long term.