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Medical transcription is all about speed and accuracy, which can be a tricky combination when you’re required to write about health conditions and actual human beings. Time efficiency is a must, and transcripts are usually needed as soon as possible so you need to be comfortable working to quick turnaround times.
So how can you ensure that your work meets the highest standards of quality while also taking the shortest amount of time possible? Practise! Practise makes perfect, and that statement couldn’t be truer when it comes to medical transcription. Keep reading to learn 8 tips that can improve your medical transcription skills.
While listening to the recording first may seem like an unnecessary step that’ll likely waste time, it’s actually quite the opposite. Having a clear and complete picture of what the work of transcription is about will go a long way when writing it up. It’ll make you work more efficiently and will make it easier if you happen to stumble upon inaudible or unclear audio. This practise will also become handy if the person who is speaking has a different accent to yours.
After you’ve listened to the whole audio, you can start transcribing sentence by sentence. It’s better practice to do this, rather than listening to a few words at a time, pausing the audio and then continuing to write. If you do it only a few words at a time it could result in more errors because it will be harder for you to know the context of the sentence that the words and phrases are occurring within it. In addition, if you just go ahead and assume a word, you may get it incorrect and will have to waste time deleting it and re-writing it again.
Speed is definitely important when it comes to medical transcription but accuracy should be your first priority, and is a skill that you should certainly focus and work on. Typos and errors that happen when you type too fast will slow you down in the long run, as you’ll have to go back to the paragraph and fix them later on. Use touch typing software on the Internet to improve your accuracy and speed, and practise, practise, practise.
Being a quick and accurate editor is also an important skill to work on if you’re a medical transcriptionist. Even if you get really good at avoiding mistakes and improving your accuracy skills, you’ll always have to go back to make sure everything is in order and that the grammar makes sense. After all, you’re writing about medical conditions for real patients, which is quite important information. You wouldn’t want to make any mistakes.
Practise your typing in your free time as much as you can. Forget about medical transcription for a while and just practise typing, about anything. This skill is more about typing technique than anything. Lots of people tend to type using two or three fingers at most, when really you have ten fingers at your disposal. Use free training programs online to practise your typing speed and technique.
If you already work as a medical transcriptionist, then you’re probably already familiar with some medical terms. But no amount is ever enough: expand your knowledge and learn more. The more you know and understand about medicine and medical terms, the easier your job will be. This is especially important when it comes to abbreviations, as it’s not uncommon that three completely different terms can have the same abbreviation (as there are so many terms). So the more informed you are, the fewer mistakes you’ll make.
Proofreading goes beyond editing grammar and making sure you get the correct term on a transcription. Checking for critical errors in the shortest amount of time possible can be really tricky – but crucial in this profession. Remember you’re dealing with medical conditions and a mistake could result in somebody potentially getting the wrong diagnosis. Always check that the terminology you’re using is correct, that the whole paragraph and subsequently the whole transcription makes sense and it’s factually correct, that nothing has been omitted or added, and that you’re using the correct patient’s information, demographics and the correct author identification as well.
Being a medical transcriptionist is an exciting, interesting and fast-paced job. It is also a profession like no other. Not only do you need to have a passion for medicine and health-related issues, you also need to love grammar and writing, have an eye for detail, impeccable accuracy and typing speed and high concentration levels. While for some people these skills come naturally, it is crucial for a medical transcriptionist to constantly work and polish them in order to thrive on the job. Remember – the more you practise, the better and easier the work will be.
SyberScribe is a leading provider of transcription services to the medical industry. We offer rapid turnaround times and accurate transcriptions through our state-of-the-art transcription platform. If you’re ready to take the plunge, why not check out the SyberScribe jobs page for more information on starting work as a medical transcriptionist.