In the medical transcription field, nothing can replace practical work experience coupled with solid medical transcription training with respect to future advancement, new career opportunities, and of course, level of compensation. The focus here will be on medical transcription training and exactly what it entails.
In simplest terms, a medical transcriptionist listens to a recording provided by a medical practitioner, and transcribes or transfers it into a written legible document – a document which becomes part of the patient file. These documents encompass everything from patient intake and discharge, medical history, pre and post operation reports, letters of referral to other doctors and medical facilities, diagnosis reports to autopsy reports. That said, these documents are of primary importance and used for billing and reimbursement purposes, future diagnosis, and potential legal issues. As a result, they must be precise, clear, and meticulous.
Medical transcription training can be be broken into two categories, formal training which involves enrolling in medical transcription specific courses, and informal training which pertains to basic skills which can be acquired outside of the classroom.
On the informal level, a medical transcriptionist must possess strong listening skills and be able to focus on exactly what is being said in the recording. In turn she or he must be able to accurately, in much detail, and fairly quickly, type the information into a computer for documentation creation. Editing will be required, however, in the spirit of efficiency and productivity, it is important to get it “mostly right” the first time and limit the number of times the recording must be replayed. This is most definitely a learned skill and improves with practice and repetition.
Formal medical transcription training on the other hand, involves enrolling in courses either online or in a classroom setting, with the ultimate goal of receiving a diploma. The internet has given birth to many online training programs and due to their affordability and flexibility, have gained tremendous popularity to those wishing to enter the transcription field.
Typically, online programs allow students to learn and complete pre set modules at their own pace – generally from 6 months to 2 years. Good transcriptionist learning centers will ship textbooks and other learning materials to the student, and provide access to qualified instructors via email or toll-free numbers. Exams and assignments are complete online, graded, and forwarded back to the student by electronic mail.
Course outlines vary by educational institution, but typically it will be broken down into four modules:
The first module will generally cover medical terminology and include topics such as basic word structure, suffixes and prefixes, organization of the body, body systems, diagnostic tests and procedures, common abbreviations and symbols.
The second module will delve more into medical transcription and focus on areas such as ethics, medical records and reports, proof reading and editing, and style guidelines including abbreviations, acronyms, chemical symbols, eponyms, and medical slang.
Module three and four will most often zero in on specific reports related to areas such as neurology, cardiology, orthopedics, psychiatry, and gastroenterology to name a few. Here, laboratory tests, diagnostic procedures, treatments, pharmacology will be expanded upon.
As I am sure you can see, online courses are extremely comprehensive and take a lot of commitment and initiative to complete. The importance of medical transcription training cannot be stressed enough as it is crucial to anyone serious about undertaking a long term career in the medical transcription field.