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How To Build A Career As A Medical Transcriber

AUTHOR: SyberScribe, October 13th, 2014

Medical transcription is a specialist field and one that is extremely important in the medical world. Over the last few years, it has been experiencing a high rate of growth and is becoming a popular career choice for many due to its rewarding nature. It takes a specific type of person and a specific skillset to become a successful medical transcriber. Here is some further information for those that are considering this as a career or business.

What is a medical transcriber?

A medical transcriber is someone that effectively turns doctors’ records (most commonly in the form of dictation tapes) into clear, concise text-based documentation and reports. To make this more challenging, the audio recordings include highly technical medical terms and some of them often lack clarity so skill is required in providing an accurate transcription.

What skills do I need?

shutterstock_72197476Medical transcription requires a high level of accuracy (mistakes can be fatal if terms are misunderstood or misrepresented), perfect grammatical skills (reports will be read by medical professionals), a high attention to detail, and the desire to keep learning more about technical terminology and the medical field in general. The transcribed reports form the basis of doctors’ reputations, so this is a job with a high level of responsibility to the doctor that has entrusted you to transcribe their reports.

To be efficient, medical transcribers require excellent typing skills (in both speed and accuracy) and they must be able to manage their time and workload effectively as this is a highly autonomous role with doctors trusting transcribers with a number of reports at any given time. Furthermore, transcribers must be able to meet deadlines as the medical field is time sensitive.

Since most of the work is presented in audio based notes, an ability to concentrate for long periods and excellent aural comprehension skills are crucial to this role.

How do I become a qualified medical transcriber?

It takes time to develop your fundamental skills and learn to be a medical transcriber. A familiarity with medical terms is essential. Much of this can be acquired through practice and experience of course, but comprehensive training is also required.

Courses can be done through community college or home study to assist with this. Study can take six to nine months and it is generally recommended that a further six to 12 months of on the job practical training be conducted.

Furthermore, the Australian Medical Association requires that medical transcribers pass their exams before being allowed to officially operate.

What are the benefits of being a medical transcriber?

As a qualified medical transcriber, you will be paid to transcribe audio into text reports and you have autonomy and control over your workflow. You can often choose whether you would like to work at a hospital or as a freelance contractor.

shutterstock_182357471If you choose to be a contractor, this means that if you have acquired the skill and experience, and have the appropriate equipment (headphones, computer, internet connection) you can even work from home. However, bear in mind that privacy is a serious issue in the medical field so a secure workspace is vital.

As a medical transcriber, you can effectively be your own boss and run your own business. This can afford you the flexibility of setting your own working hours and arrangements which is an obvious benefit.

For the right person, medical transcription can offer a rewarding career as you play an instrumental part in maintaining the health of patients and supporting doctors. It also allows you to constantly learn and improve your own skillset, furthering your personal and professional development.