Oftentimes, when I tell someone that I am a medical transcriptionist or want to have a medical transcription business, the follow-up question usually is, “What is medical transcription?” A good analogy is to think of a typical court room-this is not hard to visualize, thanks to the plethora of legal dramas on television. The customary players are the: judge, defendant, jury, plaintiff, bailiff, lawyer and of course someone we don’t hear about often enough, the court stenographer (court reporter). The court stenographer plays an important role, as all that is said by the players in this scenario (judge, plaintiff, defendant, and lawyer) is transcribed or typed. In other words, the stenographer listens and makes an actual transcript of what was said and by whom. A transcript is a written record of spoken words. The transcript looks like a script for a play and is a legal document kept securely for future reference. Can you imagine the confusion or counter-arguments without this? Having a transcript of the trial sets the record straight.
The job of the medical transcriptionist is somewhat similar. When you visit the doctor or healthcare provider for medical care, you are probably used to seeing your medical information or record stored in a file or docket. In this techno-savvy world, some physicians and healthcare providers are moving away from these paper-based records, and toward digital records. Some healthcare facilities have an electronic medical record (EMR) system where all the data for the facility’s patients is stored. This is where the job of a medical transcriptionist comes in. The doctor will speak or talk about the patient’s visit and record this information using a recording device. The physician dictates what transpired during the patient’s visit, for instance: the date of the visit, the patient’s complaints, diagnosis, allergies, medications, prognosis and much more-basically, everything that is pertinent to the patient’s visit and care. There are many different kinds of reports which the medical transcriptionist may transcribe, for instance operative reports, pathology reports, radiology reports and consultation reports to name a few.
The person who listens to this recorded speech (doctor’s dictation), and types or transcribes the recorded information is called a medical transcriptionist. Essentially, the medical transcriptionist transcribes the spoken words which often consist of a lot of medical terms and jargon. A transcribed document is the outcome of this process, usually a Word document. The completed transcribed document is returned to the doctor or healthcare facility where it is kept and stored as part of the patient’s medical record.
A medical transcriptionist is a professional, and I am presumptuous enough to believe that most medical transcriptionists really do enjoy their jobs. A medical transcriptionist loves words and usually has a wide vocabulary, consisting of both medical and non-medical words. Typing is also an important skill in medical transcription. If you are convinced this line of work is for you, or maybe your curiosity has been peaked, don’t worry:-in successive blogs I will explain further and give you more information. Remember one of the goals of this blog is to edify and elucidate the public about medical transcription, as a process and a career path.