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A Close Look at Medical Transcription

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

Medical transcriptionist jobs have been around since doctors first took the Hippocratic Oath. Ancient cave writings indicate that records of what medical treatments were being performed have been kept for thousands of years. Back then, it was for different reasons but today, medical transcription and in particular, the medical transcriptionist profession, has been quietly taking steps forward and is “suddenly” making itself known to the world.

In a nutshell, a medical transcriptionist transcribes dictated matter by phone or from electronically recorded messages by doctors, nurses or other health care professionals, into records of treatments, procedures and up to date patient status reports. Surprisingly, medical transcription wasn’t “officially” recognized as a profession until 1999 when the United States Department of Labor assigned the profession its own job code. Until that point, medical transcriptionist jobs were unjustly given the title of “medical secretary” or “typists.”

Today, the American Association for Medical Transcription, which overlooks the profession, administers testing and upon passing the test one earns the title, “Certified Medical Transcriptionist” (CMT) which lends additional credibility to your knowledge, skills and abilities over those that are uncertified. Although certification isn’t required for gainful employment, CMT status certainly has its advantages like the assurance to your employer that you are highly qualified.

Medical transcriptionists take on the role of converting the spoken words, of health care professionals, into written text either as hard or soft copy. But of course, with the dawn of new technology, this task is becoming increasingly less time consuming per unit produced. Although transcription programs continue to evolve and become more and more adept, they will never be able to replace the trained human mind. Voice recognition software certainly allows for aspects of the translation process to speed up but it will never be able to compensate for all the differences in diction styles like accents, grammar and pronunciation.

Basically, the evolving transcription software programs are simply a tool but like all tools they are only as good as the skilled craftsman using them. In fact, because of these software shortcomings, transcriptionists need to be very adept at editing; especially in the correct use of grammar and the ability to proofread. And because most transcriptions start via the recorded message listening and strong keyboard skills are becoming more and more essential.

Medical transcriptionist job training covers a wide curriculum including general knowledge of a wide variety of medical topics like medical language, Greek and Latin prefixes and suffixes, biology, anatomy and physiology body systems. A medical transcriptionist also needs to have a fair knowledge of diseases; how they progress and how they are treated because this process makes up a large portion of the medical dictations that they are responsible for transcribing.

In short, medical transcription services will always depend a great deal on the human factor. Quality medical transcription requires a set of professionals who are detailed oriented, knowledgeable and care about people. You will find these qualities in all our professionals.

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