Medical Transcription Basics

Medical transcription training and schooling tips

Tag: work at home medical transcriptionists

Are Medical Transcription Careers as Portable as They Say?

One of the big reasons you may be considering a career in medical transcription is that you’ve heard it’s an extremely portable job. You’ve probably heard that many medical transcriptionists work at home, and so they can move and keep their job. Is that true? Is a career in medical transcription a good choice if you expect to move?

That depends on the job you get. There are many medical transcriptionists who do indeed work from home. There are also many who work in an office.

Most of the work at home medical transcription jobs are indeed quite flexible as to where you live. You’ll probably never have to go in to the office, and when the work comes to you over a secure internet connection, where you are physically doesn’t much matter.

If you do have to move while working at home as a medical transcriptionist, make sure you keep in good contact with your employer. Discuss the time off you will need while moving. Sometimes it will take a few weeks to get an internet connection installed, for example, and your employer will need to know how long you’re going to be gone. It’s a good idea to plan the installation of such things as soon as you possibly can to minimize the loss of work time and income.

Even if you work in an office doing medical transcription, however, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to move your career. It does mean you’ll need to look for new work if you move, unless your employer has a work at home option available.

However, the demand for medical transcriptionists is still pretty good, and if you’re good at the work you should be able to find office based work if that’s what you prefer, even after a move. Remember that it’s not just doctor offices and hospitals that use medical transcriptionists. Veterinarians, chiropractors, any company doing medical studies also have work that will need to be transcribed. If you must move, you should be able to find a new job in the industry, depending on what’s in the area you’re moving to.

Perhaps the most challenging is if you move while running your own medical transcription business, especially if you need more direct contact with your clients. If you aren’t set up to receive dictation online and return reports online, a move can mean the loss of all your clients, as well as the time it takes to register your business properly at your new address.

Realistically, it’s much like other careers. If you have to be there in person, a move is probably going to mean that you have to look for a new job. If you’re doing all of your work from home you can probably keep your job and just take a little time off.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training.

4 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Start Medical Transcriptionist Training Online

Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of taking medical transcriptionist training online. It’s more comfortable to think of going to school, having your professors right there, having regular assignment due dates, and working with the other students in your class. There’s nothing wrong with that. But there’s a lot to be said for doing your training online.

1. Many programs are self paced.

If you’ve been delaying getting your training because you can’t fit the classes into your schedule, online training may be just what you’ve been waiting for. Many programs are self paced. You start as soon as you get the materials after signing up. You study when you have the time. You turn in assignments as you finish them.

You don’t have to drive to school, fight for a parking space or look for your classroom. Everything is done on your computer.

2. Help is available.

It’s kind of difficult to picture learning some things without a teacher right there to help you. Not everyone understands how you can ask questions when you aren’t in a classroom with your professor and other students, and there are no office hours to go to.

Any worthwhile online training program is going to have teachers available to you in a variety of ways. You can usually contact one by phone, email or chat session. If you’re stuck on something or need a bit of clarification, someone is available to help you.

3. Several reputable programs are only available online.

You may be concerned that online medical transcriptionist training programs are all scams. It’s a fairly reasonable fear, given how many scams are online, but with appropriate research it doesn’t need to be a concern for long. You can find great schools on the internet that will train you better than most local programs could.

Looks for ones that have a good reputation for their medical transcription program with employers. You don’t care what else they can train you for or their reputation in that program. You care that they’ll train you for the job you want, and do it well enough that you can get a job after graduation.

The online courses are some of the most challenging out there. The good ones require many hours of real doctor dictation transcribed by you in order to graduate. These will give you the kind of practice you need to work as a medical transcriptionist successfully.

4. Training at home is good practice for working at home.

Many people choose medical transcription as a career because they want to work at home. With that preference, why would you want to learn your skills any place other than at home?

Being at home to learn or work is very different from doing so outside the home. You have a lot of distractions. It’s harder to keep your focus. You have to get better at keeping yourself on schedule.

When better to learn than during your studies? Better you figure out how to deal with the pitfalls as a part of your education than lose your job because you couldn’t handle it.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training.

Do You Need Schooling to Become an At Home Medical Transcriptionist?

You want to become an at home medical transcriptionist. You’re confident you can pick up the needed skills on your own if they’d just give you the chance. Do you really need to pay for medical transcriptionist schooling and take all that time to learn it at school in order to work at home in medical transcription?

Yes, probably you do.

There are a few reasons for this. First of all, it’s not as simple as just typing what the doctor says. People who don’t know better may describe it that way, but few things in life are as basic as their simplest description.

You have to learn formatting. You have to know medical terminology. You have to know anatomy and physiology. You have to know the names of many medications and their generic variations. You have to develop your ear for transcription, and that’s not an easy thing to do. It only comes with practice.

Most of all, you must be fast and accurate. Medical transcription companies don’t want to spend significant amounts of time training you to do the work. They want you ready to go with just a little help getting used to the particular system they use. They don’t want you overloading their QA staff with poor quality work because you don’t really understand what you’re doing and can’t quite hear the difference between very similar terms used by the doctors.

Even though medical transcription schooling costs money, in the long run you may earn more if you go through it. Most at home medical transcriptionists are paid per line, not per hour. This means that the faster you can transcribe accurately, the more you earn. Taking the time to go through schooling means that you’ll be a faster transcriptionist at the start, and capable of earning more money.

If you feel you have most of the skills needed already, consider that many online medical transcriptionist schools are self paced. If you already know the information, you can go through that part of the course more quickly, and spend more time on the parts you still need to learn. You may be surprised during your training to find out what you don’t know already that you need to know to work in this industry.

I’ll admit that it’s not completely impossible to become a medical transcriptionist without training, but the odds of doing so successfully are pretty low. That’s not the usual way to get started, and particularly in low supervision areas such as at home medical transcription employers need to know their employees can do the work with minimal help and supervision. Having an education gives them reassurance that you know what you’re doing, which increases the chance that they will consider you at all for a job.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training.

How Do You Become a Medical Transcriptionist and Work From Home?

Once you find out that it’s possible to become a medical transcriptionist and work from home, the idea can be quite appealing. There just aren’t that many work at home jobs that sound so possible to many people, especially with a clear income potential.

Then you start looking at jobs and realizing it’s just not that simple. Everyone wants you to have at least two years of experience, except a couple of questionable companies that are asking you to pay them for the job. Isn’t there some way to become a medical transcriptionist from home and not get scammed?

Of course there is. Many people succeed at this, while others end up working as medical transcriptionists in an office somewhere rather than at home. The only problem is, you’re going to have to pay for your own training.

In many ways, this isn’t any different from any other job that has demanding requirements. It’s like a job requiring a particular certification or a college degree. You get the training you need from the source you choose, then you can start finding the jobs that will take you on as an employee.

What about that two years of experience thing, you ask? Choose the right training, and it won’t be so much of an issue. You can get around it if employers trust the school you trained with.

Online Medical Transcriptionist Training

The great part about medical transcriptionist training is that you can do it online, from home. You must be careful to choose a school that is AHDI Approved, so that you know their training is high quality. You should also confirm that employers are willing to hire their new graduates, so you have a shot at getting past that annoying experience requirement. There are few things more frustrating after spending months on training than being constantly asked how much experience you have, especially when you know you’re ready and able to work now.

Training to become a medical transcriptionist online is a smart way to go if you want to work from home after you graduate. It’s experience in work at home skills. You’ll be learning how to cope with many of the issues you’ll face when working at home for real, such as dealing with distractions, getting family to take you seriously and so forth. It’s also nice not having to drive to school and deal with parking issues, child care issues or schedule changes. Online training works with you for the most part.

What About After Graduation?

After you graduate is when you really know how much you needed a high quality training program. If the school you chose doesn’t have such a great reputation with employers, your job hunt is probably going to be more difficult. There can still be challenges in finding a job after completing even the best of programs – it all depends on the competition for the particular jobs you apply for, and the jobs you find.

The great part about working from home is that you don’t have to limit your job hunt to local companies. You can apply to companies all across the country if they hire home based employees. Most will never need you to come in to the office, so your location relative to them won’t matter. The internet and telephone will take care of all your communication needs.

Not everyone will find a work at home position, no matter how badly they want one, however. It may pay you to take a local, in office transcription job if that’s what you find. The job hunt gets easier with experience.

But if you do get the work at home job, work hard and really show that you’re a great employee. Over time you can effectively increase your pay as you become more productive, as home based medical transcriptionists are often paid on production. As you gain experience you can move on to better opportunities or be promoted within the company you’re working for. You may be surprised where this career takes you.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training.

Is Being a Medical Transcriptionist a Good Stay at Home Job?

You’re ready to start working from home and heard about medical transcription. But you aren’t sure. The pay rates sound promising, but how realistic are they? Can you really be a medical transcriptionist for your stay at home job?

With the right training, you most certainly can. However, you need to be aware that not all positions in this industry are home based.

Training is a very important first step into this career. If you don’t get good quality training, you’re going to have a very hard time finding work, especially from home. You have to know what you’re doing. You have to convince potential employers that you will be a productive and accurate transcriptionist. You have to know how you’re going to cope working from home, which isn’t as easy as many people assume it is.

When you’re considering a home based career, I like to suggest that you learn your job skills at home too. There are a few really good medical transcription training programs out there that will let you do your studies entirely at home, usually at your own pace as well. It’s great for learning the job skills as well as how you’ll cope with staying at home to work, which is an entirely new skill for most people that takes a surprising amount of time to figure out. There are a lot of distractions at home that slow many people down, plus the isolation to deal with.

That said, if you enjoy having a stay at home job, medical transcription is a pretty good one. The hours for stay at home medical transcriptionists are usually very flexible. You can decide what your work hours will be, so long as you meet whatever the agreed upon minimum is with your employer. If you work at night better than during the day, or mornings, you can set your schedule to be during those times. If you need time off for a special event, you can usually manage that. If you need to work while the kids are sleeping, that’s usually possible too.

You aren’t going to earn a spectacular living as a stay at home medical transcriptionist. You can earn a fair living, with $15 an hour being fairly possible once you have a bit of experience. $20 an hour is harder to achieve. Don’t be surprised to earn under $10 an hour early on when you get a job, as you learn that the reality is different from medical transcription training, no matter how well trained you were. Being at home means you’ll probably be paid on production, so as your skills improve, so will your effective hourly pay rate. Call it motivation to work hard on improving your skills.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training.

What Do You Need to Know to Be a Medical Transcriptionist at Home?

Deciding to be a medical transcriptionist at home is a great career choice. It’s challenging and the pay is pretty decent. You have to know quite a bit before you can become a medical transcriptionist at home, however.

This is not something to do on your own. While you can study up on the skills you’d need on your own, you’re better off going through a good quality online medical transcriptionist training course. That way you won’t be missing out on some of the skills you didn’t realize you’d need.

These are the skills you need and that you need to be certain your medical transcriptionist training course will provide to you.

1. Knowledge of medical terminology.

This one should be obvious. You can’t transcribe medical reports if you don’t know the terminology and know it well.

2. Grammar and style.

You should have excellent grammar if you’re even considering medical transcriptionist training. The time you’re spending on your formal training is no time to be reviewing grammar basics.

You will need to learn about the style of the different types of medical reports and documents. They’re done in a certain way to make it easier for doctors and other medical personnel to find the information they need about a particular patient.

3. Anatomy and physiology.

How much do you know about the human body? You need to learn more.

This is a vital skill. It will help you to understand what the doctor is talking about, especially when you’re dealing with two completely different things that sound very similar. When you know the part of the body being discussed, you usually know which word is being said, even when they have similar roots.

4. Pharmacology.

You’re going to learn a ton about medications that may be prescribed. You’ll especially need to know the difference between the brand name and generic names of drugs, as the difference can be important. This is one of the areas where you need to keep up as well, as new medications come out all the time.

5. Disease processes.

What are the different stages to various diseases. The ability to understand what the doctor is talking about once again comes in very useful.

6. Transcription technology and practice.

Lots and lots of practice. Any course worth the money will require you to complete many hours of real doctor dictation. This is one of the big steps in getting the skills that will make you a productive medical transcriptionist. Without it, there’s no way you’ll earn a living wage, maybe not even minimum wage.

7. Privacy and legal issues.

Patient privacy is a huge deal, and there are laws you need to be aware of as a medical transcriptionist at home.

Beyond these concerns, I like to recommend self paced, online medical transcriptionist courses. These make it easier to continue working at your current position as you train for your new career, or you can go through the work as fast as you can learn it if you aren’t already working or otherwise occupied. It’s nice to not be slowed down by those who aren’t learning as fast as you are, or pushed to hurry up when you need a little more time.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training.

Does HIPAA Limit Work at Home Medical Transcription?

This article is not legal advice. Consult with a lawyer or your employer as a medical transcriptionist for specific guidelines on complying with HIPAA.

A concern many people have when considering medical transcription as a career is how HIPAA impacts their ability to work at home. That’s a legitimate concern.

HIPAA greatly impacts medical transcriptionists. It requires that patient health information be private, secure and confidential.

Employers, and therefore their employees, are covered by HIPAA as "Business Associates." Employers should have a policy in place to help work at home transcriptionists to comply. There are standards for the electronic transmission of patient information; that is, the transmission of the original dictation and the typed report. As most dictation and reports are now transmitted over the internet, it means that encryption and password protection must be used.

All this does not mean you can’t work at home and do medical transcription. It does mean you need to take the appropriate precautions.

It means you need to be concerned with the security of your work computer. This is a good area to ask employers for advice. They may require you to install particular software to help ensure that your work computer is safe for the medical data you have access to as a transcriptionist. Companies may use 128-bit encryption with the HTTPS protocol, for example, to prevent unauthorized access to the data you need as a transcriptionist. The software you use would allow you to access the data. You may also need to password protect your computer.

Employers may also have an interest in your work setup at home. It’s best if you have a door you can close for your office. HIPAA does mean you don’t want anyone else in your home reading over your shoulder. That’s private information, even if no one would say anything about it.

HIPAA also means that if you happen to receive a report on someone you know, you cannot tell them about it. That is between them and their doctor.

If you receive printed information about reports you have typed, you will need to follow appropriate procedures to return, save for reference or destroy said information. Most work at home medical transcriptionists do not need to keep printed files of the work they have done, but if you do, make sure that the information is stored securely.

If you are required to destroy printed information, find out how you are expected to manage it. Cross cut shredding may be one way to handle it, but be sure to ask so you are handling the issue correctly.

HIPAA compliance may sound overwhelming, but particularly if you work for a service that has proper protocols in place it may not be that bad. Ask questions as needed, and be certain you follow the rules. It certainly does not mean that you cannot work at home in medical transcription.

Overall, this means you have no reason to fear that you are wasting your time learning medical transcription. The work at home medical transcription industry has so far withstood several years of HIPAA and should stick around for many more.

Check out the Career Step training program and decide if this is the right work at home opportunity for you.