Certified Medical Transcriptionist training has evolved into a highly skilled member of the medical profession. Medical transcription jobs are becoming more in demand as the need for more accurate medical record keeping arises partly due to campaigns such as Your Record Speaks. The demand brings bigger opportunities for high paying medical transcriptionist careers, as well as, the prestige of having the title of Healthcare Documentation Specialist. There are certain skill sets that a certified medical transcriptionist must possess whether at an entry-level position or near the end of a productive career. The title of Healthcare Documentation Specialist says it all: In order to work on patient medical records, you must train for accuracy in medical documentation and be fluent in medical language. Here are the top 10 skills a certified medical transcriptionist should have:
- Above-average typing skills. Keep in mind that this is one aspect of the profession that can easily be improved. Typing skill and speed are developed by a lot of practice. There are many techniques that could improve this particular skill set.
- Good Grammar. In order to understand the language of medicine, one must understand the nuances of common English: grammar, punctuation, format and style are all integral parts of how the legal document of a medical record is formed. Knowledge in these areas is essential to any medical transcription training program.
- Multitasking. Healthcare documentation requires eye/hand, eye/ear, and even eye/foot coordination when using a foot pedal for example. As most job training programs, practice makes perfect. As medical transcriptionists perform more of each task, they get better at multi-tasking.
- Perfectionism. Yes, you heard that right! In the field of medical transcription or healthcare documentation, there is no margin for error as it should be. If medical records are not accurate, what will happen? Misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment, even death. Those who strive for 100% accuracy rates are the kind of folks you want to work on your medical records!
- Discipline. Most MT jobs today are work-from-home jobs. While this setting sounds ideal to almost everyone, the reality of being able to work at home without distraction is hard for many. The successful transcriptionist can juggle home and work responsibilities and completely dedicate some time for the job.
- Focus. The healthcare documentation specialist (HDS) these days are different from their predecessors because much of the work is either speech recognition or editing. In some ways, the job of medical transcription has become harder because it requires a lot of focus that could put a lot of stress on the mind.
- Commitment to Learning. The job of a medical transcriptionist is constantly changing. New drugs hit the market every day along with new and innovative procedures. In order to keep up with modern technologies, research and authentication of information are constantly required to assure the accuracy of reports.
- Imagination. In a fact-based field, it may seem odd to think that one of the top 10 skills would be imagination but it is important. For instance, when you are typing an operative report inside the human body, you should be able to visualize where the provider is, what tools he or she is using, and what events are taking place during the procedure. Imagination improves accuracy and also helps an MT catch a discrepancy.
- Critical Thinking. As a transcriptionist gains experience, incongruous information becomes more apparent. The alert MT will always be on the lookout for misinformation or things that do not add up. For instance, an insulin dose for Lantus insulin is dictated at 80 units but upon researching “usual dosage,” the HDS flags the report as a discrepancy and saves the patient’s life. (This error did, in fact, occur in 2012 and, as a result, the patient was administered the wrong dose and died.)
- Constant self-assessment. New MTs get their first taste of assessment when they receive feedback during medical transcriptionist training. MT students are constantly under scrutiny having their reports checked, and errors stressed. This kind of inspection does not stop when training is completed. In the real world of medical transcription, error rates are calculated based on the accuracy of the MT and pay can be based on those accuracy rates — a reason for an MT to focus and critically transcribe every report aside from preserving the individual patient’s health story.
The Certified Medical Transcriptionist career is not for everyone; however, for those who decide to become medical transcriptionists, the road is full of promise. There are always new learning experiences, always new opportunities around the corner, and fantastic potential to make a great living and work from home. As the future unfolds in healthcare documentation, it is predicted that credentialing will become an integral part of the profession. That could raise pay scales up substantially. No one can dispute the critical need for accurate healthcare documentation. Whether starting out or winding down, it’s a great medical professional career!