Working at Home in Medical Transcription

Resources and Tools for Medical Transcriptionists

My choice for relatively affordable and reputable medical transcription training.

Medical Transcription Basics
Free eCourse on being a medical transcriptionist.

A medical transcriptionist listens to dictation from a doctor and types it up.

If only it were that simple.

I worked at home as a medical transcriptionist for more than three years. I know the routine quite well. But it was never a simple job. The necessity for accuracy and speed combined with the need to constantly learn new terminology, makes for a challenging work at home job.

The first thing I did each shift was check for any updates. Depending on your employer or the account you are working on, this could be a very quick check or it could take several minutes. This isn't paid for; you get paid on production only.

Much medical transcription is done online now, but it is still possible to need to use a Dictaphone or similar machine. You will use a foot pedal to control the dictation. The basic foot pedal allows you to play, stop, rewind and fast forward the dictation. It's not too hard to learn to use a foot pedal, and it is of course far superior to trying to control the dictation with any controls at your fingertips. Your fingers should be too busy typing.

You must have an excellent ear for the language. Not only may you be dealing with highly specialized vocabularies, but you must understand perfectly the difference between they're, there and their and other words that sound alike.

You must be able to quickly research any new or unfamiliar terminology. You will most likely want to own a medical dictionary, drug guide, medical phrase book, anatomy text and abbreviation guide. You will probably also need additional books for any specialties you may transcribe.

You must be able to research online and know which resources to trust. The internet is a great resource for the medical transcriptionist; in fact, Google was one of my favorites, but you must know when it has given you the right answer and when to keep looking.

You must cope with difficult accents, doctors who talk too fast, who slur their words together, stutter, eat, drink, chew gum, talk to other people in the room and much, much more. You must be certain you don't leave anything out.

You must be a fast and accurate typist. Most people transcribe more slowly than they would type otherwise.

You must protect patient privacy. This means not talking about the reports you've typed, keeping reports out of other people's sight and taking proper precautions with your computer such as firewalls. This is a major legal issue.

You must understand the rules of your employer. If the system does not automatically send your reports in after they are typed, you must send them in regularly during your shift, not all at once at the end.

You will need a quiet place to work. Background noise makes it much harder to be accurate. Make sure family members know to leave you alone. It is generally easiest to work if young children are asleep or older ones are at school.

Never be surprised at the computer programs you may be called upon to use as a home medical transcriptionist. The transcription program I used was DOS based. No, this was not 10 years ago - I quit in 2005.

Pay close attention to any feedback your employer gives you. In the early days of your employment, you can expect your work to be reviewed constantly.

Pay may start as low as 6 cents per 65 character line at most transcription companies and go up with experience. An independant medical transcriptionist should typically earn much more, as they have all the overhead of running a business as well. The per-line rates for transcription mean that the faster you work, the more you earn. It is not uncommon for excellent medical transcriptionists to earn over $20/hour, yet beginners will earn less than $10/hour... sometimes even less than minimum wage as they get the feel of the system, learn the accents and habits of the doctors and get used to the job.

This is not a job you can get with no experience or education. Most employers who hire medical transcriptionists to work from home expect either 2-3 years (minimum) experience or completion of an excellent training program, such as those offered by the Andrews School or CareerStep.

Medical transcription is one of the highest demand work at home jobs out there, due to its high demands. If you are a good medical transcriptionist, you should have little trouble finding work for some time to come. Outsourcing and/or voice recognition are potential threats to this job, but are not likely to be serious for some time to come.

Employers may or may not be strict about sticking to the shift you have chosen. You are generally able to set your own hours. Medical transcription needs to be done within a certain period by contract, known as a turnaround time. However, STAT reports are due as soon as possible, which is why many employers do want to know when you plan on working and expect you to stick with that plan.

Back to medical transcription main page.


More Medical Transcription Articles

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

Landing that First Job as a Medical Transcriptionist
Most companies want at least 2-3 years' experience before they'll hire you to work at home as a medical transcriptionist. So how do you get that experience?

Online Medical Transcription Courses
Online programs are my top recommendation for learning medical transcription. There are three programs that are consistently considered to be the top programs and that have a solid reputation with many employers.

Medical Transcription Basics
A site all about learning medical transcription.

Copyright © 2003-2019 Stephanie Foster unless otherwise indicated


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