Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Medical transcription

As most of you would know, there is more than one type of transcription – transcription disciplines include general transcription, legal transcription and medical transcription. It’s medical transcription that I would like to focus on today, and I hope that this article can be of benefit to potential clients and transcriptionists alike.

I thought that the most beneficial way to address this topic may be in a question and answer format, and I am beginning with the most basic element – to ensure that you understand clearly what medical transcription is.

Q. What is medical transcription?

A. Medical transcription is the conversion of notes recorded by a medical professional (usually a doctor) into a written format. This is usually done nowadays by means of a digital transcriber, which produces a digital sound file which is then sent to the medical transcriptionist (usually, but not always, a contractor from home) to transcribe – although there are still some medical professionals who prefer the use of cassettes. Cassettes can be transcribed either by converting them to digital audio or using a cassette transcriber. These reports are then sent back to the medical professional. The field of medical transcription has grown immensely over the past 15 years and continues to grow today, and medical transcriptionists are now an integral part of the medical community.

Now that we understand fully what it is, let’s look at who would be cut out to be an MT.

Q. Who could be a medical transcriptionist?
A. In my opinion, anybody with who types well, has an excellent grasp of the language they plan to work in, and has good hearing can consider a career in Medical Transcription. In addition, a person who has a medical background, such as nursing, radiology assistant, etc in addition to the above would make an exceptional candidate for MT work. If you do not have good linguistic skills, I would go so far as to say you should not consider becoming a medical transcriptionist.

Now let’s find out how easy it is to be a medical transcriptionist.

Q. How does one become a medical transcriptionist?
A. The accepted and most conventional way to become a medical transcriptionist is to study for it. Although I have no personal experience of them, I do know that medical transcription can be studied in South Africa at Transcribe SA (website http://www.transcribing.co.za). Courses can be done online in the comfort of your house or physically, in a classroom, and the length of them usually varies between 3 – 7 months, studied usually on a part time basis. A less usual way of getting into the field could be learning under the guidance of a more experienced MT.

Q. What equipment do you need to be a medical transcriptionist?
A. - Computer and internet
- Headphones
- Speakers (optional)
- Footpedal (optional)
- Dictation playback software

Of course like anything there are constraints facing this field and one needs to weigh up pros and cons.

Q. What challenges face the medical transcription field?
A. Things like Voice Recognition Software, which is making continual progress and other technological innovations such as Google Voice can somewhat prove to be thorns in the side of the medical transcriptionist. However, I do not believe that the software is anywhere near good enough at the moment to replace the medical transcriptionist. There will always, I believe, be a need for human input (and this is another place where your grammatical training comes in) to ensure that contextually and grammatically everything is correct.

Consider for a moment the nature of medical dictation, and you will understand why I recommend studying to be a medical transcriptionist. Medical terms can sound very similar yet have entirely different meanings and indeed the use of them in the wrong context can have dramatic consequences – for example, the words “hypoglycemia” and “hyperglycemia” sound almost the same but have vastly different meanings – the former means “low blood glucose”, and the latter “high blood glucose”! So why experience, qualification and a bit of ‘savoir faire’ is essential to be an MT, and TAVASA has a number of highly qualified, experienced medical transcriptionists on board! Contact us today (www.tavasa.blogspot.com). .

Please if you are copying or rewriting this article, credit me, Gaynor Paynter, as the author and give a backlink to TAVASA’s blog at www.tavasa.blogspot.com


  1. This is a good site for the information about Legal Transcription. Many of Legal Transcription Company are available in this corporate world for Legal Transcription Services India. But none of those would be providing such a cheap legal transcription and Legal Transcription Outsourcing.

  2. I am Chris interested in Medical Transcription, I want to study medical transcription online degree which institution is good and Pls give the detail of the institution