The Future of Medical Transcription

Consider this scenario. You’ve just gone back to work after 12 weeks of maternity leave. Between frequent calls to your childcare provider and stealing fervent glances at the clock, you somehow manage to get through another emotionally and physically exhausting work day. Guilt pangs coupled with worry over whether your little one is being looked after well in your absence gnaw at you constantly as you rush home to your new bundle of joy.

You get home only to find your baby throwing tantrums and refusing to eat. Work may be over for the day, but the real challenge begins here.

Another day dawns, and the same cycle repeats itself, until finally you can’t stand it anymore. Does this ring a bell? If so, you’re not alone.

Many of you may wonder what the little scenario I just described could possibly have to do with the topic of this post. Just humor me for a minute while I describe what I went through, and you’ll understand the context that I have so painstakingly built up.

Having a career is great, but anyone who has ever been pregnant knows it isn’t as great as motherhood. That’s precisely why so many new mothers decide to say goodbye to their old careers and embrace their new roles as full-time caretakers. But it doesn’t have to be so. If you’re like me, you can have the best of both worlds. Don’t think that you can’t enjoy motherhood AND a financially viable career that lets you stay at home with your baby.

Flexible Work from Home Option

Wanting to stay at home with your baby is just one reason people look for work at home jobs. There are lots of people looking for similar opportunities – college students hoping to fund part of their education, single parents trying to augment their income, or retired seniors eager to kill time and make some money off it! But those people will have to bear with me, because that’s not just not how it happened for me.

The point of this post is to introduce all you new mothers and others looking for work at home to the best and least expected decision I ever made- getting involved in the lucrative and in demand field of medical transcription.

For the uninitiated, medical transcription involves listening to doctor dictations and converting them into clear and logical text that are called medical records. The purpose of this post, however, is not to give you an overview of medical transcription, but to take a closer look at why it works as a home business option and the future of this profession.

A disclaimer before I go any further – not all medical transcriptionists (MTs) work from home. A lot of them find and actually prefer to work out of offices of physicians, hospitals, and business support service providers.

That said, medical transcription is among the most established home based businesses that is both legitimate and offers a steady and lucrative income stream. The start-up cost is pretty low when compared to some of the other home based businesses – all you need is a transcription device and a computer.

However, before you start your home-based business, it’s a good idea to get medical transcriptionist training online from a local community college or vocational school. Although experience in the healthcare industry may sometimes suffice, formal training in the field is generally recommended.

I know, I know – for someone who’s already struggling with commitments at home and work, going back to school for training hardly seems like a realistic option. But for every problem, there is a solution and all you need is the will to find it.

The solution to this particular problem? What else, but blessed technology that makes it possible to acquire new skills sitting on your couch.

Like so many other fields, medical transcriptionist training is also available online and most such programs are of short duration. If you plan a little ahead, then it’s not all that hard to find the time to complete an online medical assistant course to start your home business.

It’s All about the Economics

The reasons why medical transcription works as a home based business for those who provide this service are clear. However, all these reasons would come to naught if there were no takers for this service.

But there is a demand for home-based medical transcriptionists because the economics work for healthcare practitioners as well. It reduces the cost of their business as they don’t have to pay a salary, which is generally higher than hourly wage rates besides saving on overheads and benefits like health insurance and paid vacation.

But if you think it’s the easiest $15 you will be able to make in an hour, think again.1 The work may sound fairly straightforward, but simple it is not! And you’ll have no trouble believing me if you have ever listened to a doctor give dictation.

It is generally full of medical jargon that is beyond the comprehension of an untrained ear. Therefore, medical transcriptionists require good knowledge of medical terms to be able to first understand, then interpret and finally type out what’s being said.

Not only that, they should also be excellent grammarians and typists. The ability to work with full concentration and attention to detail are other qualities expected of an MT. That’s why formal medical transcriptionist training is so important!

Medical Transcription – Through the Crystal Ball

If you are planning to start a home-based medical transcription business, I am sure you would like to know what the future holds for you.

Well, it’s sort of a mixed bag. The U.S. Department of Labor projects an 11 percent growth in employment of medical transcriptionists through 2018 – an average, but steady growth.2 But the field does face some challenges that are as important to elicit as its potential.

The first challenge comes in the form of outsourcing. It’s very common for such type of work to happen in the back offices of an Indian BPO. It’s vast English-speaking population and lower emerging market rates make it a hot outsourcing destination.

The other challenge medical transcription faces is from technology itself. Many believe that the emergence of voice recognition software that converts recorded dictation in to ready text has the potential to create a dent in the demand for MTs.

However, the boon of technology is also its bane.

The software may eliminate the need for a human to manually type out dictations, but it still needs someone to convert this ready text into logical content. That’s because no software can compare human intelligence and there is more to this job than merely typing out words on an autopilot. If that were true, then this post would be relevant for typists (remember those guys who used to go clickety-clack on a typewriter? If not, visit a courtroom. There may still be some around).

Coming back to voice recognition software, even the text thus prepared needs editing, proofing, interpreting, referencing and formatting to become usable. And that’s the job for a human, won’t you say?

On a parting note, like any other career, medical transcription has its own share of positives and negatives. You have to weigh the positives against the negatives and see if it makes sense in your overall scheme of things.

Sources:

1. http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos271.htm#oes_links
2. http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos271.htm#oes_links

About the Author:
Career Step is a leading vocational school with almost 20 years of experience in providing online career training specifically designed to help students acquire knowledge and skills needed to quickly transition to a successful career after graduation.

Comments

  1. says

    Anyone interested in medical transcription might also consider general transcription. I trained as a medical transcriptionist, but found I was too much of a hypochondriac for the work. Ha.

    I love general transcription. There’s such a variety, and most companies will give a newbie a try. There also isn’t really a place to train for general, so most companies only require that you have an excellent grasp of spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

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