Medical Transcription Software

Resources and Tools for Medical Transcriptionists

My choice for relatively affordable and reputable medical transcription training.

Depending on whether you work for yourself or for a medical transcription service, you may need or want to buy some software to make doing medical transcription easier for you. Some things are relatively obvious, such as the need for some sort of word processor, but others you probably would not think of on your own.

If you’re working for a service, wait until you know what they require and what they will provide before purchasing any software. If you’re finding your own clients, you will still want to be compatible with what they’re using, but you can probably have a more flexible selection.

When I worked for Medquist, their software included both a spell checker and a word expander. These are two vital pieces of software that will help you be successful in medical transcription.

The spell checker is pretty self explanatory these days. The basic spell checker that comes with most word processing programs is quite simply not up to the demands of medical transcription, as it will be missing much of the vocabulary. However, no matter the spell checker you always need to check your work yourself, as some do themselves have spelling errors. I often used the Spellex website when in doubt.

The word expander was probably my favorite piece of software. There’s nothing like being able to type a couple of characters and have a full word, phrase or sentence pop out. It’s wonderful for productivity.

The one caution about word expansions software is that you do have to be careful about it expanding abbreviations that are supposed to remain abbreviated. Some doctors prefer that if they dictate an acronym, it stays that way, such as saying “BP” rather than “blood pressure”. To get around that, I used “bpx” if I wanted to type out “blood pressure” and kept “BP” for when the doctors wanted it to stay that way.

As I used the default word expansion software when I did medical transcription, I really do not know which one is the best. However, I have heard good things about Stedman's SmarType. Stedman's makes some great products for medical transcriptionists, although others prefer Dorland. You may also find Saving Keystrokes to be of interest - a book on making the most of your expander.

Yes, both Microsoft Word and WordPerfect offer macros that can do the same thing, however, they do not tend to do well with a large number of entries. Once you understand the power of word expansion, you WILL have a lot of them.

Another option you might consider is voice recognition software. Dragon Naturally Speaking has a version that can cope with medical vocabulary. You’ll lose some time to training the software, but it can greatly increase your productivity. This kind of software also concerns many transcriptionists, as some doctors use it rather than pay a transcriptionist, but so far most doctors simply don’t want to deal with the hassle of training it. It’s a personal preference. It's also expensive, so I don't recommend this for beginners.

All this can add up, but can also pay off in terms of increased productivity. As a medical transcriptionist working at home, you are most likely paid on production, not hourly, so anything that speeds you up will in the long run be a good thing, even if you go a little slower during the learning curve.

Back to medical transcription main page.


More Medical Transcription Articles

Books You'll Need as a Medical Transcriptionist
Medical transcriptionists need a lot of reference material. There's a lot to know and reports can get into some very unusual or obscure terminology.

Medical Transcription Employers
My list of companies that hire medical transcriptionists. Most do require experience, of course, but some will accept quality training instead.

Working at Home in Medical Transcription
What is it really like working at home as a medical transcriptionist? A look at my work routine when I was a transcriptionist.

Copyright © 2003-2019 Stephanie Foster unless otherwise indicated


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