Working from Home as a Medical Transcriptionist

Medical transcriptions perform a valuable service in the health care industry. Using a headset and personal computer, medical transcriptionists transcribe recorded dictation from a physician into clearly worded, accurate medical documents. Common documents prepared by a medical transcriptionist include physical examination reports, discharge summaries, medical history reports, autopsy reports, referral letters, and operative reports. Most of these medical documents are added into a patient’s medical history after being checked by a physician. Any treatment the patient receives later in life will very likely be based on information culled from their medical history. It is therefore very important that the medical transcriptionist be as precise as possible when producing the documentation.

In order to perform their job efficiently medical transcriptionists must be familiar with medical terminology, shorthand, physiology, pharmacology, diagnostic procedures, and treatment assessments. In addition, medical transcriptionists are required to be knowledgeable about medical ethics and law. Medical records contain confidential information that must be handled sensitively by the transcriptionist.

It is essential that medical transcriptionists are highly proficient in typing, grammar, punctuation, and editing skills. With the advent of modern technology, the important of word processing and basic computer knowledge has also become a required skill for medical transcriptionists.

Technology has also had another important impact on the medical transcription profession. WIth the use of the Internet becoming more and more common throughout the health care industry (and all other industries), it is now possible to launch a successful medical transcription career as an independent contractor. Many medical transcriptionists now work solely from home, using their own marketing skills to find employment or going through a professional transcription services company.

Working from home offers many benefits to individuals interested in pursuing a medical transcriptionist career, but disinterested in working in a cubicle for the duration of their working life. The first benefit is the flexibility. Independent medical transcriptionists can organize their schedule around their own life and work as much, or as little, as they wish. They can also set their own pay rate, which with enough experience can exceed that of the average salaried medical transcriptionist.

Required Training

Whether planning to work at home or in an office as a medical transcriptionist, the training requirements remain basically the same. Completing either a 1-year certificate or 2-year associates degree in medical transcription is an excellent way to acquire the necessary skill set to secure the best compensation later on. Seeking certification from the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (ADHI) after graduation will demonstrate mastery in the field of medical transcription.

Other classes medical transcriptionists interested in a work-at-home position should pursue include marketing and advertising. These courses will teach the transcriptionist how to promote themselves and their services to potential employers. Truly independent contractors – those who do not conduct business through a third-party company – will need these skills in order to launch their careers.

How to Launch Your Business

Many work-at-home medical transcriptionists begin their careers by working for major employers, such as hospitals, before transitioning into a contractor position. This is beneficial as it builds a relationship with a company that may send business to the transcriptionist after formal employment has ended. Other medical transcriptionists begin by working with a third-party company that offers transcription services to larger companies.

Professional medical transcription service offices have varying requirements for potential contractors. Some may ask that applicants have 2-3 years of experience, while others accept entry-level medical transcriptions. A great resource for medical transcriptionists interested in working as independent contractors is the Medical Transcription Industry Association. The organization’s website has a list of companies that currently offer independent contractor positions and the specific experience requirements of each firm.