Many are now saying to forget about working as a medical transcriptionist due to the explosive impact that voice recognition software has had on medical transcription. So does this mean that the career is a dead end? For those who have never worked as a medical transcriptionist or in the non-clinical health
care field, you’re not aware of how the process of documentation works.
When a patient is treated in a medical facility, their visit has to be documented; this is done either by hand in a written format, dictated and transcribed or through the use of voice recognition software. If the document is hand written, it has to be placed in the medical record. For documents that are transcribed, they either enter directly into the patient’s electronic chart via an electronic interface or the document is printed and placed in a paper based chart. With voice recognition, the document is opened in the electronic medical record and typed as the physician speaks. As you can see, with the electronic medical record, documentation is becoming a process that seems to be hands off. However, there are instances that occur behind the scenes that make having qualified medical transcriptionists a necessity.
Currently, the federal electronic medical record mandate has a deadline for year 2015. This mandate is in effect based on legislation enacted by President Barack Obama that requires all medical facilities to have an electronic platform for storing patient records. Since not all medical facilities are utilizing the electronic medical record, documentation is still being completed in written format. Transcriptionists are needed to transcribe dictated physicians reports. If any errors are found, the medical transcriptionist is responsible for correcting them. If blanks are found in the dictated document, the transcription editor will have to listen to the dictated report to see if any blanks can be filled in.
There are instances when errors in documentation occur. With the electronic medical record, each patient visit is assigned an account number. Physicians will at times dictate into the wrong patient account. These reports will have to be removed from the incorrect account and placed into the right one. These corrections will be done by the transcription department within the medical facility. Transcription editors and/or transcriptionists will make corrections that are needed.
The language of medical transcription is complex and filled with word oddities. There are words that sound alike and spelled in a similar manner, but have different meanings, for example, ileum (which is a portion of the small intestine) and ilium (which is a portion of the hip bone) sound just alike, are spelled alike with the exception of one vowel, but have totally different meanings. There are many words in the medical language just like this. When a physician dictates ileum/ilium, the word recognition software doesn’t know which word the physician means to have entered. This is where a MT will come in. They will need to review the report once complete to make the necessary changes, hence the movement toward transcription editors.
Although medical documentation is created in a health care setting, there are also places that medical transcriptionists work that are outside of this setting. Many MTs work for insurance companies and lawyers. There are also private medical practices and clinics that utilize MTs. Some physician’s offices still like the hands on approach. They don’t want their transcribed reports going all the way to India to be transcribed. These physicians hire local transcriptionists who have their own businesses to transcribe for them. Technology is changing the face of health care documentation, but the need for qualified medical transcriptionists is not a thing of the past. There will still be a need for medical transcriptionists. Computer programs can do wonders, but there’s nothing that compares to the humanistic qualities of a highly trained medical transcriptionist.
Here is a small list of medical terms that sound alike. Don’t tell me Medical Transcription is dead! No matter how great the computer program is, it can’t make decisions or read minds.
Abduction - Adduction
Absorption - Adsorption
Achymosis - Ecchymosis
Affect - Effect
Aphagia - Aphasia
Appose - Oppose
Arteriosclerosis - Arteriostenosis - Atherosclerosis
Aural - Oral
Bare - Bear
Basal - Basil
Bases - Basis
Caculus - Calculous
Callous - Callus
Facial - Fascial
Glans - Glands
Iluem - Ilium
Just is just a few. To see a complete list click here. Do you see now that Medical Transcriptionists are still needed? I think their futures are pretty solid.