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Question about careers in Medical Transcription

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Question about careers in Medical Transcription

Old 09-12-06, 02:14 AM
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Question about careers in Medical Transcription

A good friend of mine is looking to get involved in medical transcription as a career. Her only problem is that she doesn't have any experience in the field - her only experience in the medical field is working as a medical records clerk at a clinic. Any ideas on how she should go about getting a position doing this? Does she need any kind of special schooling? I've seen where they have those certificates in the 10-month programs and things like that, but I've heard of people getting transcription jobs without them.
Old 09-12-06, 07:54 AM
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It's pretty unlikely that she'd get a job without any schooling or prior experience in the field. While sometimes people do "fall into" these types of jobs, succeeding in them is another story. It's far more difficult than one would think and without a good background, this can be one of the most frustrating ways to spend your day. Two ways for her to go about it: I went into med transcription as a second career. I went to my local college and took medical terminology 1 and medical transcription 1 the first semester and then medical terminology 2 and transcription 2 the second semester. After that, I got a job locally at a medical transcription service for the experience and exposure (at that point, after the schooling, hospitals would also hire you, if that's what your friend is looking for). After the experience, I was able to then work from home comfortably for a national service and also have my own little side business.

The second way to start out: My friend had no local resources for schooling. She purchased the SUM program from Health Professions Institute (it was a set of 12 tapes; I think now they come on one CD) and basically taught herself. She got a job after that with a national service and has been working from home ever since.
Old 09-12-06, 10:09 AM
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I've been a secretary for more than 20 years, mostly in corporate settings. It used to be possible to get work as a legal secretary or medical secretary with no previous experience, but that's impossible today. The terminology needed is too important.

Your friend might want to check out the local community college or vocational school for the courses she will need. I'd also recommend she try to find work in a doctor's office as a receptionist or clerk. This would give her an idea what working for doctors is like.
Old 09-12-06, 04:44 PM
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Is this a good idea for someone over 50? Someone I know is trying this out (going to community college) in an attempt to escape the post office. This person has past wrist problems from RSI on an assembly line. No retirement fund either (surprised?)
Old 09-12-06, 05:36 PM
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I worked as a Technology Coordinator at a college of nursing & health sciences for five years. They had a transcription program. There are a few general education courses (medical terminology; anatomy, etc.) and then significant lab time.

Keyboarding skills are a must. Voice recognition has been emerging in the field but isn't taking over yet.

Once completed you can work out of the home for hospitals, nationwide corporations, or individual providers in some cases. These programs are cropping up all over, though, and in conjunction with technology advancements it may not be totally secure long-term.
Old 09-12-06, 05:49 PM
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Princess, only your friend can say how her wrist will impact her job performance. She should understand that this is also a production job, so it might not be the best fit for her in that regard. You only make money if you type, and the more you type the more you make. The actual speed one types is not as crucial as the quality. You need to also have good grammar and punctuation skills over and above the medical terminology. Folks looking to get into the field need to realize it can be a lonely job, as you're pounding the keyboard for hours on end all on your lonesome. There is also no guesswork in this job. You're dealing with someone's medical record and it must be accurate. If you don't know something, you need to research it. This is a good job for someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder!

I've been doing this as a second career for about 15 years now. Ever since I started, the threat of voice recognition has been talked about. As long as there are surgeons (who take special classes, I'm sure, in the "mumble as fast as you can" skill) and especially doctors with accents, it's just not a worry.

But it's a good job for someone who enjoys the medical field, enjoys typing, enjoys English, and is perhaps a bit anal retentive. That said, though, one needs to understand the production aspect. You're usually paid per line, with 65 characters equalling a line. You need to pound out a lot of lines per day, every day.
Old 09-13-06, 03:14 AM
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Thanks for all of the information. I shared it with her, and she wanted me to ask about this website. She's been looking at programs like this, and is wondering if this is the sort of thing that would benefit her, as she's unable to take classes at the college due to work and family obligations.

http://www.blackstone1890.com/progra...hp?courseid=02
Old 09-13-06, 07:36 AM
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I've never heard of Blackstone and can't comment. I mentioned the SUM program earlier as it is a nationally recognized medical transcription training program. The training tapes (cds now, I guess) have been used in schools and even as refresher-type aids in transcription programs: (http://www.hpisum.net/page.aboutus). *Getting* that first job without experience--especially if she's wanting an at-home job, which usually requires a few years' experience--can be tough. If she's wanting to work outside the home, like at a hospital, she might actually call a hospital, ask for the medical records department supervisor, and flat out ask if they would hire a transcriptionist who is home trained only. And she could ask them specifically about the SUM program and Blackstone to see how they would feel about each. Another alternative, if she's wanting to work at home, is for her to research a few national transcription companies and email the human resources person and get their feelings on hiring and training practices.
Old 09-13-06, 01:16 PM
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How about the threat of outsourcing? I know a lawyer who dictates to his PC and then sends it off the eastern europe for transcription. The next morning he gets his notes / letters typed up in his inbox. He claims it costs a franction of what he used to pay.
Old 09-13-06, 04:47 PM
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I wouldn't call it a "threat" of outsourcing. It's already here and thriving. Almost every national transcription company also outsources, usually to India. I know a lot of the work that comes back from there has to go through heavy editing; there's just a lot of slang they don't have the ear for. Nevertheless, all I can say is there's a lot of work out there, and I just don't see it as all going overseas. Any training in the medical field from an administrative perspective, whether transcribing, coding, or editing, won't go to waste. We've coexisted with outsourcing for a long time and I don't see it changing substantially in the future. Just my opinion, of course.
Old 09-14-06, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Medspeaking
I've never heard of Blackstone and can't comment. I mentioned the SUM program earlier as it is a nationally recognized medical transcription training program. The training tapes (cds now, I guess) have been used in schools and even as refresher-type aids in transcription programs: (http://www.hpisum.net/page.aboutus). *Getting* that first job without experience--especially if she's wanting an at-home job, which usually requires a few years' experience--can be tough. If she's wanting to work outside the home, like at a hospital, she might actually call a hospital, ask for the medical records department supervisor, and flat out ask if they would hire a transcriptionist who is home trained only. And she could ask them specifically about the SUM program and Blackstone to see how they would feel about each. Another alternative, if she's wanting to work at home, is for her to research a few national transcription companies and email the human resources person and get their feelings on hiring and training practices.
She's basically looking to get a job in the field - she'd eventually like to work from home, of course, but it's not a priority to her at the moment.

How exactly do the national transcription companies work? I wasn't aware there was such a thing. Do they mail you the dictations and you transcribe them?

Also, she's looking into the program you suggested, and wondering how much she would need to spend on equipment, as it states that the foot pedal (and whatever else) is not included.
Old 09-14-06, 08:00 AM
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The national companies work over the net. I log onto a secure system (they provide you with a computer), and 2 sound files are downloaded from the hospital computer onto your computer. You listen to the job via headphones and foot pedal and type it. When you're done, you transmit it electronically and then start work on the second job. As that first job transmits, another sound file is downloaded to your computer.

It sounds like your friend has a good plan. If she gets the terminology on her own time via the SUM program (and I can't stress enough that doing it on your own requires a substantial commitment), she should be able to get a job in a physician's office or possibly a hospital so she can get the experience. Working in that environment, too, she won't have to worry so much about production, as she'd likely be on salary, and she can get the needed experience without undue worry about making lines.

I don't know how much anything costs in the SUM program, as I didn't go that route myself. My friend, who did use the program, had their older program which required buying a transcription machine, which comes with its own foot pedal. I would imagine your friend could contact HPI either by phone or email and get all the specifics.
Old 09-14-06, 08:10 AM
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This is very interesting as I've thought of trying to jump into that field. There is a transcription program at one of my local community colleges so I think I'm going to check it out.
Old 09-14-06, 08:23 AM
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whats the avg pay scale??
Old 03-05-08, 01:38 AM
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Update...my friend has just about completed her schooling for this now. A few people here mentioned the "national services" - would those of you in the field/with knowledge of the field recommend she start with those, or by trying to work out of a doctor's office? The local hospital is doing poorly, and doesn't treat its employees too well, so I'm urging her to stay away from there...but there are plenty of smaller offices/specialty clinics around here as well.

What would you recommend?
Old 03-05-08, 08:28 AM
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For a first job, I would definitely recommend she get a job locally for the experience. I can't stress enough how much of a *shock* that first job will be, and having other transcriptionists around to borrow their ears will be invaluable in her education and enable her to do it on her own in the future. A clinic would be preferable to a doctor's office just because she would see a wider variety of specialties. A local transcription service would be absolutely ideal because they will see everything and yet she would still have other people there to ask for help when (not if) she needs it (check the phone book to see if there are local services and call them up to ask if they have any openings for a newly graduated transcriptionist). I wouldn't count out the local hospital, either, even if they don't treat their employees too well. I would look at it as simply a temporary thing just for the experience; think of it as an extension of school. And if they treat (by that, I assume you mean pay) their employees so poorly, there's likely a big turnover and they might be more inclined to hire someone just out of school. Experience is the key and hospitals actually would provide the best.

Working for a national service is great for those of us who would rather work at home, but it's better for those who are seasoned at it otherwise it would be an exercise in frustration and VERY low pay as you endlessly research all those things you would have naturally picked up in the course of previous employment. So tell her to get the experience wherever and however she can. When she's ready to try for a national, post again and I'll give her the contact number for the place I work for (it's the biggest one nationwide).
Old 09-16-08, 02:36 AM
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Any chance you could give that contact #? She's finishing schooling in the next two weeks, and wants to explore all options (both local and from home).
Old 09-16-08, 08:32 AM
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She can apply online at the Web site at www.spheris.com and click on "careers." I'm told that she should reference JOB CODE mplyR (which means she's an employee referral; they'll look at her first and if she's hired I'll get a small bonus). She should also reference my name on the online application form (Peggy Grasso). Once they look over the online application, someone would call for an interview and test. I had a phone number, an employment hot line, that she could try calling (I assume it's still workable): 800-967-5261 X1746. Good luck to her whether she goes national or local!

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