Monday, July 27, 2009

Behind the scenes......

I always say that MT is a job for behind-the-scenes people. It's great for those who like to be left alone to work, people who like debating about the proper use of punctuation and grammar, people who like reading, writing, editing...people who enjoy working with words. If you always have a book in your hand, were a spelling bee contestant in school, spent a lot of time in the library, enjoyed English lit in school, MT may be a good choice for you.

If you also have an interest in science, enjoyed biology, chemistry, anatomy & physiology in school, MT may be right up your alley.

Most people don't even know what medical transcription is, let alone what it involves. If they've ever heard of it at all, they probably think of it as "medical typing," which sure sounds easy. I've had people approach me and say they want an MT job because they type fast and it sounds easy, their aunt does it for the family doctor, and it's something they can do in their spare time to make a couple extra bucks. When I explain that they need training first, they often scoff and say something like, "I have an MBA, I don't need training to do typing." But when I have them listen to a sample dictation, they usually slink off, tail between legs. It's not as easy as it sounds.

That said, there are those who have learned it on the job, mostly transcribing easy clinic notes involving runny noses and bellyaches. But if you gave those people a CABG op note to transcribe, they'd be lost. They wouldn't know the terminology, the equipment, or the anatomy. But clinic notes, sure, you can learn that on the job sometimes, especially if you have someone to mentor you. But MT companies want their MTs to be well trained these days. They want to know that an MT can handle transcription involving a cardiac catheterization, endarterectomy, Nissen fundoplication, craniectomy, meniscectomy, or a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. They want to know that an MT knows what words like esophagogastroduodenoscopy and salpingo-oophorectomy mean and how to spell them.

The want to know that an MT can recognize and correct transcription errors, knows how to avoid dangerous abbreviations, knows when to flag inconsistencies, understands HIPAA regulations, and can decipher what the dictator is saying, even one with a heavy accent, when he/she is sneezing, yawning, chewing, or drifting off to sleep while dictating.

Although MT is done behind the scenes and few people understand what it involves, medical transcription is very important in that it must be done correctly to avoid critical errors in patient records...which brings us back to choosing a good MT school. If you're well trained and persistent, MT can really pay off for you.


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