Medical Transcription Basics

Medical transcription training and schooling tips

Tag: voice recognition

What Kind of Continuing Education Do Medical Transcriptionists Need?

Keeping up with the industry is one of the challenges medical transcriptionists face. New drugs are always coming onto the market, and doctors perform new procedures. Electronic medical records and voice recognition software are also in the process of changing how the work of a medical transcriptionist is done. If you don’t keep up, your career may be in trouble.

While most medical transcription jobs don’t formally require you to take any sort of continuing education classes, it’s a good idea if you do, especially if you’re concerned about losing your work due to electronic medical records and voice recognition. These are having a real impact on the industry, along with the kinds of changes transcriptionists have had to deal with since the early days of the industry.

If you’ve taken the test through AHDI for your CMT, you’re required to get 30 credits of continuing education over 3 years in order to maintain your certification.

Read Medical Transcription Forums

A good medical transcription forum can help you keep up on the kinds of changes you should be aware of in the industry. Other transcriptionists share what’s happening in their area, which can alert you to things you should be aware of. You can also get tips on forums for how to improve your productivity, a vital skill for any transcriptionist paid on production.

This is not, repeat, not, formal continuing education. This is just how you keep up with some of the basic changes and become aware of issues in the industry. It’s important in its own way.

Take an Approved Continuing Education Course

If you want to show your employer that you’re continuing to improve your skills or you need to take some courses to keep up your CMT, you need to sign up for a formal course. AHDI is a great resource for finding appropriate courses.

For general continuing education, the AHDI offers a variety of courses that will help you improve your skills. You can find courses that will help you improve your weak points and that will help you keep your career moving.

Taking a course that will help you to make the transition from transcriptionist to medical transcription editor could be a good move for your career as well. It’s a way to take advantage of the changes that are happening, rather than sitting still and letting them run over you. It’s better to take some extra training for one of the paths your career could take than it is to rely on changes coming slowly.

A medical transcription editor takes the skills of a medical transcriptionist and applies them to editing documents produced through voice recognition software. This is one of the big areas of change in the industry, but as it’s fairly new not all transcriptionists are ready for it.

Whether you need the formal training of a course or just the informal information you can gain by reading professional forums, make sure you keep up on the things you need to know in this career. It’s all too easy to fall behind in this fast paced career.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training and continuing education options for medical transcription editing.

Where Does Medical Transcription Go From Here?

One of the big topics of concern for medical transcriptionists is the future of their career. While voice recognition software isn’t perfect, and many doctors don’t care to do the work involved in training it, it’s getting better. What does that mean for medical transcription as a career?

Whether you’re considering training as a medical transcriptionist or working as one now, it’s something to pay attention to. It may well be more important than concerns about outsourcing medical transcription overseas.

For now, there’s still a good amount of regular medical transcription work out there. As an industry, it’s still expected to grow at an average rate. The jobs aren’t going to vanish overnight.

That doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing for future possibilities.

Even as medical records go to electronic versions, people trained in medical transcription are going to be needed. The difference comes in some of the additional skills you may want to be trained in.

You may want to be trained in checking the transcripts that come from voice recognition software. This is going to be an important skill. Voice recognition software has been getting better, but it’s not likely to be perfect anytime in the near future. Consider that medical transcriptionists have been hearing about it for more than a decade. Improvements to the technology have been slow.

That means humans will need to continue to be involved in the process.

The likely change is that you will start doing more editing, and less direct transcription. You may be checking to see that the software got all the dictation right, and ensure that the transcripts are formatted correctly.

That will take skills much like medical transcriptionists have now. You can’t outdo the software if you don’t understand the doctor yourself.

The good part is that an individual medical transcription editor can go through reports more quickly than someone transcribing from scratch. You’re likely to spend more time listening to make sure everything matches, and just a bit of time fixing the mistakes.

Pay rates will likely change to reflect the difference.

Increased productivity may well mean that fewer transcriptionists are needed. This can sound like a problem, but remember that the field already has good demand, and that the population overall is aging. The change may or may not be offset by the added demands for people working in the medical field in general.

In other words, things are not too bleak for medical transcriptionists, in my opinion.

Can You Get Trained Now?

Career Step now offers training for people interested in working in medical transcription editing. They’ve noticed the need and made it possible for you to be ready to work in offices that don’t need traditional medical transcriptionists.

Their training can be done by either new students who have never worked as medical transcriptionists before or by experienced workers. Your degree of experience determines the course you take with them.

It’s a great time to get prepared for what may be the future of medical transcription. There’s no point in being unprepared for changes you can see lying ahead of you.

Contact Career Step for free information today.

Will Voice Recognition Ruin Your Medical Transcription Career?

One of the biggest fears medical transcriptionists have for their careers relates to voice recognition software. And indeed, some doctors are using it to transcribe their reports. But voice recognition is far from reliable enough to take over all that a good medical transcriptionist can do.

Current software just isn’t up to the job. Medical reports need an exceptional degree of accuracy that is incredibly difficult for a machine to match. It goes beyond figuring out which word or drug the physician said, and includes issues such as accurate punctuation.

When you think about words that might challenge a voice recognition software, you could think of too, to and two, or their and they’re but these aren’t even the biggest problems. Many drugs have similar names, sometimes just because you’re talking brand name versus generic, but other times the two drugs aren’t related. Then there are words that can run together, such as "you’re in" versus "urine".

The learning curve is a big part of what will keep many doctors from using software. It takes time to train the software to your voice, as well as to train yourself to speak slowly enough. I can tell you from personal experience that many doctors dictate their notes for transcription at an incredibly fast rate of speech. Many will simply be unwilling to slow down so that a computer can do the work.

And of course then the work would still need to be proofread. The extra work will not be of interest to many doctors.

However, some medical transcriptionists have tried voice recognition software too. It can work for transcriptionists, rather than against. The added step of needing to proofread is not always too much of a burden. But it can be challenging to speak as you listen. This technology is certainly not for all medical transcriptionists.

Voice recognition does better in other areas. My father loves using ViaVoice as he works on his computer, strongly preferring it to Dragon NaturallySpeaking. It’s a way to put less strain on his wrists as he works on the computer.

Then there are the formatting and punctuation issues. Once again, obvious to a transcriptionist, not so clear to a computer.

People have been worried about voice recognition destroying the medical transcription industry for at least a decade. The changes are happening so slowly that you can pretty much rely on it taking a very long time for the software to reach a point where it could be a danger.

But there is one possible combination in which doctors dictate using voice recognition software, and transcriptionists clean it up. Faster for each, and cheaper per report for the doctor. It’s a distinct possibility that would allow doctors to take advantage of the technology without adding too much to their own workloads.

In other words, going through with getting your medical transcription education isn’t too bad an idea. The jobs should hang around for a long time yet.