Calling All Transcriptionists: The World Needs You!

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Change can breed confusion. And with the explosion of information and data that is occurring in the “technology revolution” and the growth of social media, every industry has developed its share of confusion, legends and myths. With all the changes happening in the healthcare industry, especially around EMR and healthcare documentation, misinformation and misconception can occur just as easily, which leads to common misunderstandings about the different career opportunities that exist today.

In a recent article for titled Ten Myths About Medical Transcription, Anne Martinez writes about some of the notions that have grown around the Medical Transcription profession. Central among the myths Martinez addresses are several that predict that the role of medical transcriptionist is being replaced by technology or going overseas. The big takeaway from her article is, Transcription is here to stay and more important than ever.

3 Key points:

  • Speech recognition technology WILL NOT make medical transcriptionists obsolete.
  • Electronic health records WILL NOT eliminate the need for medical transcriptionists.
  • Medical transcription work WILL NOT completely be moved overseas (off-shoring).

Speech recognition technology cannot replace transcriptionists because it can’t recognize nuances in language and meaning, and consistently leads to errors. It’s really a simple equation: technology isn’t human, and language needs human interpretation to recognize things like context, and meaning. These errors make transcriptionists more critical than ever, as they need to monitor the technology for errors and quality.

Electronic Health Records were never meant to replace people. They exist as a digital version of an individual’s health chart. The benefit of this is the health information within the record is available, via a secure system, to all the medical professionals involved with each patient, so each can see a holistic picture of the patient’s health history. Ensuring accurate information is placed in the electronic health record is paramount and will lead to better diagnosis, smarter interaction between disciplines and improved patient care. This digital format allows for immediate remote access by any physician who is authorized to review the patient information.

While there was a period of off-shoring transcription services in the nineties, having medical transcription work performed overseas poses heightened dangers of potentially violating patient-physician confidentiality by unaccountable persons. More recently, changes to HIPAA regulations in 2010 require transcription services to be provided closer to home, to protect patient confidentiality.

In other good news, you don’t need certification to start working. Certification comes later. Transcription career progression, roughly, is: train / work / certification. So, you can complete your training and start working right away.