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12 Skills that Employers Look for in a Medical Transcriptionist


Medical transcription is an in-demand profession that offers good remuneration and the possibility of flexible working arrangements for transcriptionists. Medical transcriptionists work with technical medical language and they’re required to deliver accurate transcriptions, often within short timeframes. Employers will look for a range of complementary qualities and skills when seeking to add new medical transcriptionists to their teams.

1. Knowledge of medical terminology

Knowledge of medical terminology will typically be a fundamental quality or skill that a prospective employer will look for in new recruits. This can cover basics such as anatomy, physiology, and common medications and procedures, but it can also involve terminology unique to particular medical specialisations, such as urology or cardiology.

2. Typing accuracy

Medical transcriptionists produce written documents from recordings, so they need to have exceptional typing skills and demonstrate a high level of accuracy. Accuracy is particularly important as the language in medical transcription can be very technical. This means you’ll need to have error-free spelling and be able to identify the right medical terms being said in recordings.

3. Typing speed

A fast typing speed is critical if you want to work as a medical transcriptionist. You will need to produce transcriptions within deadlines, some of which will be strict or at short notice. Not only do you need to be accurate; you need to be able to type quickly to produce the required volumes of work to fulfil demand within the applicable timeframes.

4. Punctuation, grammar, and syntax

Medical transcriptionists produce reports, documents, and transcripts for healthcare professionals, so it almost goes without saying that a qualified transcriptionist needs to have impeccable punctuation, grammar, and syntax. While there are digital tools to assist with these skills, as a typing professional, you probably won’t have time to review and look up every punctuation, grammatical, and syntactical issue that might arise because you lack a solid grounding in these areas.

5. Multitasking skills

Being able to multitask is vital for transcriptionists. You may need to stay aware of other deadlines, coordinate your work schedule, listen and type at the same time. Your multitasking abilities will help you produce accurate transcripts, manage your own workload, and meet deadlines without stress.

6. Computer literacy

Medical transcriptionists need to be comfortable working on computers as most transcription companies utilise computer-based platforms for their transcription work. A transcription business might have their own proprietary self-serve platform for accessing recordings and submitting completed documents, or they might make audio files available to transcriptionists through another method.

Whether or not you work on site or remotely, you’ll need to be comfortable accessing, working on, and submitting your work through a computer system. Being computer savvy can enable you to work more quickly, support better accuracy, and take advantage of various transcription tools such as spell check, text expanders, foot pedals, and audio enhancers.

7. Analytical and problem-solving skills

Some medical-transcription roles will require the creation of more complex reports and some level of document editing according to provided formats. In this case, you might need to have analytical and problem-solving skills to generate these complex reports from raw audio data. Strong analytical skills also allow you to catch any inconsistencies and errors before the documents are submitted.

8. Strong listening skills

If you have sound listening skills and a good memory for complex terms, you might be suited to medical transcription work. Medical terminology involves unusual words that are often based on Greek or Latin, and sometimes the person dictating may have a strong accent. If you’re able to pick these terms up quickly, retain them, and accurately identify them in an audio file, you could make an excellent medical transcriptionist.

9. Research skills and openness to learning

While medical transcription work usually requires prior knowledge of medical terms, it’s not always possible to know every single word spoke in an audio file. Medical transcriptionists should be able to identify crucial elements of an audio file, including hospital names, doctors, medication, and unusual abbreviations. Openness to learning and commitment to keeping up with developments in the medical field and in specific medical specialisations can also be a valuable quality in a medical transcriptionist.

10. Focus and concentration

Medical transcriptionists work on an autonomous, self-guided basis and so you’ll need to be able to concentrate on work for long periods of time without becoming distracted or restless. Having good focus and an ability to concentrate for extended periods can support accuracy, timeliness, and overall quality of work.

11. Attention to detail

Successful medical transcriptionists require strong attention to detail, as every individual letter and word in a report or transcription matters. In the healthcare field, attention to detail can be vital when it comes to medication, quantities, and terminology. Having strong attention to detail and being able to sustain a high level of detail throughout your working day is therefore a strong quality that will appeal to prospective employers.

12. Self-motivation and diligence

As a medical transcriptionist, much of your work is self-guided and autonomous. You’ll work to deadlines, but the way you work will probably be determined by you. Being self-motivated and diligent, and being able to work on an individual basis can be an attractive quality for employers in this field.

Medical transcription can be a fulfilling occupation that offers generous remuneration, flexibility, and a variety of interesting work. If you think you can produce accurate reports and work autonomously without constant supervision, medical transcription might be the path for you.