Medical reports from examinations, progress notes and tests are transcribed by medical transcriptionists. Places where medical transcription is performed include hospitals, transcription services, physician offices and private homes. Transcriptionist’s type from digital or analog dictated recordings to produce medical reports and administrative documents. Speech recognition is gaining popularity as more health providers are using it to dictate their reports. The internet is another source for dictated recordings.
Certification is not required to work in the medical transcription field. However, employers favor employees with a post-secondary medical transcription certificate or degree. Courses are available at a college or on line and students can earn a one-year certificate or two-year degree. The curriculum should include courses in anatomy, grammar and punctuation, medical terminology, pharmacology, and legal issues pertaining to healthcare documentation. Salaries will vary geographically but the statistics for the national mean hourly wage for medical transcription is $16.12 and mean annual wage is $33,530.
The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity, AHDI, was established to publicly and legislatively give the profession of medical transcription and medical transcriptionists a unified voice. This organization was started in 1978 as a way to educate the public about the important role a medical transcriptionist plays in patient safety. A credential of Registered Medical Transcriptionist, RMT, is earned by taking an exam. Prerequisites for the exam are recent graduation from a post-secondary medical transcription program; fewer than two years experience in the industry for acute care; and employment in a single-specialty environment such as radiology. To earn a Certified Medical Transcriptionist, CMT, credential a candidate must meet the requirements of a RMT and work at least two years in an acute care or multispecialty equivalent. AHDI–Fellow, AHDI-F, designation is earned by possessing a RMT or CMT credential; maintaining active membership with AHDI; completing an AHDI–F application and meeting the requirements; and paying the application fee with submitted application. Credentials and the fellow designation are voluntary but require current and active membership with AHDI.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, medical transcription will increase by 11 percent during the years 2008 and 2018. Also using speech recognition technology and outsourcing will not significantly affect future jobs for medical transcriptionists. Additionally, work outsourced to foreign countries usually does not meet U.S. standards and needs further editing by domestic transcriptionists. Healthcare professionals will continue to use transcription services due to laws mandating standardization of electronic documentation for medical records. Demand for these services will steadily increase as a disproportionate amount of older patients will need tests, treatments and other medical procedures.