Career Overview of a Medical Transcriptionist

How good are you at decoding accents? Are you a master of the computer keyboard? Do you have a sharp ear? Yes? Well, you have just qualified yourself for a hot new profession. One that offers great money without leaving the comfort of your home. That's Medical Transcription.

Medical Transcription is all about word-for-word translation. It's a process by which orally dictated medial prescription, advice, results of diagnostic tests made by doctors and health professionals are converted into accurate and readable text form.

It works like this. A doctor in a hospital checks, diagnoses and simultaneously treats as many as 60-100 patients a day. But keeping track of all patients' history and physical reports, clinic notes, office notes, operative reports, consultation notes, discharge summaries, letters, psychiatric reviews, laboratory reports, x-ray reports, pathology reports, etc. is next to impossible. That's where Medical Transcription (MT) comes in. As an MT, you'll decipher the doctor's discussions, which is usually recorded on a Dictaphone (by the doctor).

Apart from computer-related word-processing systems you also need good listening, language skills and knowledge of medical terminology.

If you are planning a career in MT you need a very good ear to be able to distinguish between similar sounding and vastly-different-in-meaning words such as "peri-para", "inter-intra", "arterioles-arterials", "vesicals-vesicles" etc. Another example is tonsils (something that is normal) and tonsillitis (affliction of inflammation of the tonsils).

As an MT, you have to note down the data, which is crosschecked by a supervisor (an experienced Medical transcriptionist) and then edited by an Editor.

The editors have about 4-5 years of experience in medical transcription process. The overall work is again controlled by a Quality Assurance Manager who ensures that the work is up to the mark.

As a Medical Transcriptionist you'll work in shifts. But there is scope for even housewives to work part-time from home. As you gain experience you can specialise in a particular field of medical transcription like clinic transcription, hospital transcription, etc.


So, if we have successfully convinced you into MT, here's what you need to get into the field:
• Good typing speed
• Well-versed with medical terminologies and other medical jargons
• Basic knowledge of English language usage and grammar
• Working knowledge of computers
• An ability to understand different accents and dictions
• Should also be able to work for long hours and often in a high-pressure environment.

Today, there are numerous institutes that offer short-term courses in Medical Transcription. Of course you gain exposure on the job. Most companies first recruit and then train you for the job.

You can go on to specialize in transcribing voice records in specific areas of medicine, such as surgery, cardiology etc. With few years of experience you can apply for Certified Medical Transcription’s and then Medical Language Specialists.