I’m sure many of you have heard the doomsday predictions about medical transcription being a dying trade. It’s a rumor that has gained a lot of momentum simply due to the fact that there have been enormous changes in healthcare documentation over the past few years. However, as in all cases of projection, we must question the validity of this rumor.
As a board member on multiple committees at AHDI (the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity), I can verify that the profession is alive and kicking. Yes, there have been some changes and there will continue to be new directions that the profession necessarily must move in, but what has become critically evident in the past year or so is that never before has the healthcare documentation specialist (HDS) been so vitally crucial to medical records as now.
With the advent of the EHR, a lot of clinicians and technicians saw the elimination of the HDS from the equation of capturing the individual health story. However, as technology has evolved enabling record transformation to the digital arena, the emergence of errors (and we are talking an unfathomable amount of them) has pointed out that not all documentation methods are created equally. When you remove the human element and the critical thinking portion of the process of transcription, there is a huge gaping hole in terms of the integrity of the individual health record.
The trend at the current time is to ensure that dictators have the freedom of adding in the narrative portion of the patient’s health history to assure that each and every recording of patient care contains all the information – not just templated portions of it that may or may not give the entire picture of a patient’s health history. With this need being glaringly apparent, there is now an increased need for healthcare documentation specialists and at a time when many who are baby boomers are retiring and/or those who have left the profession entirely due to the anticipated loss of jobs, this affords new students a golden opportunity to enter a career that will be thriving for years to come. Projections at AHDI are that we will see an incredible resurgence of need-to-hire-now as medical transcription companies that have scaled back are faced with a lack of enough employees to meet dictation demands and more importantly, to meet turnaround times for documentation.
What does this mean for the medical program student? It means that any and all training that is available and/or affordable will be an incredibly valuable tool in the skill set of someone needing to either support their family or add to the family’s income. Especially lucrative about healthcare documentation is that it is a job you can do from just about anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection and an up-to-date computer. You can set your own work hours and there will always be potential for advancement since Quality Assurance editors are in high demand. The more training you have in medical transcription practices and current trends, the better the availability of these higher level positions. Even speech recognition mandatorily requires editing and again, the positions are increasing in this job specialty every day. Best of all, medical transcription is still about the best job you can get where you can work from home. Speaking as a mom, this career has afforded me the true luxury of watching my kids grow up and preserving what I consider most important – family. I should also add while making a very good living indeed in the process.
I see the future as becoming brighter and brighter. As more and more HDS’s become credentialed or if it becomes mandatory to hire only a credentialed workforce, the pay scale will also increase proportionately. This is great news for the industry and for all of us as individuals who believe in the integrity of each and every medical record. Rock on, medical transcription!