Job Title: Transcription
Type of Company: I work for a hospital.
Education: AS, Accounting, Quincy Junior College (Quincy, MA) AS, Architectural and Structural Design, Franklin Institute (Boston, MA)
Previous Experience: I was previously self-employed doing medical transcription while working part-time as a biller.
Job Tasks: I proofread and edit medical reports: MRIs, CT scans, x-rays and mammograms, as well as biopsy and other medical procedures (with some assistance from a radiologist). To do this you have to know some medical terminology and have good typing skills. I also do addenda and make revisions to reports that have errors or changes. I change reports that are logged incorrectly and add accession numbers to them.
In the process, I have to deal with the x-ray technician to find out exactly what type of report was done, especially if it doesn't match up to what the doctor is dictating. Not only is there editing but there's some computer work involved when I am trying to fix problems.
A basic day is sitting at a computer and working for up to 5-8 doctors at a time, all of whom speak differently. Every day is different, with different problems and situations. Sometimes the days are hectic and other days they're slow.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The worst part of the job is dealing with a doctor who is overwhelmed with the amount of reports that need to be dictated and read. They tend to be grouchy and irritable when we come to them with a problem: not knowing a word or suggesting that a measurement is wrong. The best part of the job is that the room is very quiet and dark, and not as crazy as the rest of the hospital.
Job Tips: Taking anatomy classes or medical terminology classes, as well as getting a certificate in medical transcription are a big help. You must also have a good handle on prescription medications. Typing classes are de rigueur, and everything you do is predicated on a knowledge of basic word processing software. The work starts off very slowly, since every report is different and there is always something new to learn. Always proofread your work for errors. Specializing in one area may be very helpful when starting off: cardiology, pediatric, family practice.
Additional Thoughts: This job has been great because I not only work at a hospital doing this, but I was able to stay home with my babies when they were young. I worked out of my house doing many types of transcription. The costs of working at home are very low getting started. Nowadays there are jobs in which people just edit, and then there is straight typing. Working at home is more difficult because you're isolated and have no one to fall back on. Working in an office or medical setting allows you to get out of the house and be in a medical setting and potentially learn more things. One common misconception is that it is not all typing word for word, there are lots of short cuts in the word processing programs that make you faster. Some companies pay by the line and others hourly, so if you're fast you make more money. For someone starting out, hourly is probably better, because it is a little frustrating when typing line by line. A person looking on may think it is boring.
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