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When a physician or other professional in the health field records reports in spoken form, it takes someone with special skills to transcribe those reports into written form and turn them into useful documents after their review by the original professional. These skilled individuals are medical transcriptionists, and they form a vital part of the health care system. Their input helps to create and keep current patient records and the administration databases that help the medical system work. Medical transcriptionists train with and use equipment such as Dictaphones, and may also perform their work over the Internet.
Being a medical transcriptionist requires a degree of training in and knowledge of medical terminology and the processes by which health care systems work. This allows them to create clear and accurate transcriptions. They also learn to use medical reference works, and to work within the policies and laws relating to the medical documents that they create. This includes familiarity with the principles of medical ethics and patient confidentiality.
Medical transcriptionists can be found anywhere that health care professionals work, including hospitals and clinics, doctors' offices, and medical laboratories. There is also a growing trend for medical transcriptionists to telecommute, performing their work over the Internet.
Depending on the specific position, a medical transcriptionist may be payed by word count or piece rate, by the hour, or on a weekly or monthly salary. According to 2008 statistics, medical transcriptionists earned a median wage of $15.41, with laboratory work generally paying higher wages.
Current projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that job prospects in the field should be excellent, as the field is continuing to grow.
Training and Education
Becoming a medical transcriptionist requires an appropriate associate's degree or a certificate program usually taking a year to complete. The topics covered in this training may include medical terminology, English language skills, physiology and anatomy, and more.