How can you tell if those work-from-home jobs you see online are legitimate or not?
Unfortunately, many of them are a scam. One job, however, has proven to be a reliable way not just to make money from home but to get started in a rewarding career with a bright future (see Ways to Stay Productive Working from Home).
Have you heard about medical transcription?
Today, there are some 105,000 persons in the United States working as medical transcriptionists, many of them as independent contractors. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that this number will likely increase at an estimated rate of 11 percent per year as baby boomers head into retirement and the health care industry grows to meet the demand.
The job itself is pretty straightforward. Many encounters between a health care provider and a patient are recorded. It’s up to medical transcriptionists to listen to the recorded dictation and transcribe (type) these notes for the patient’s file. Medical transcriptionists also edit documents for errors. This is nearly always done on the computer these days.
Specifically, the medical transcriptionists’ duties include the following:
- Transcribing from an audio file the dictation of the physician or health professional.
- Editing the draft, making sure that it’s free from typographical and grammatical errors.
- Converting medical jargon and abbreviations into proper words.
- Checking with the health provider whenever inconsistencies are found in the dictation.
- Submitting written reports.
Medical transcriptionists must have certain skills to do their work. These include:
- Ability to listen and understand dictation.
- Ability to type quickly and accurately.
- Facility for spotting typographical errors.
Transcription is a job that requires great grammar and typing skills. Employers also look for familiarity with words (especially medical terms) that come from Latin and Greek, as well as some knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology. A good medical transcription training program covers all of these and more.
One more thing—a medical transcriptionist is not a medical “transcriber,” strictly speaking. The former is a person who transcribes medical information from audio files into editable text files; the latter is a machine that the transcriptionist may use during the transcription.
Medical transcriptionists are vital to the treatment and well-being of patients. The reports they create are compiled and included in the patient’s permanent file. Among these reports are medical histories and discharge summaries. Correctly transcribing what is dictated is critical, because the accuracy of the written report will directly influence the quality of patient care.
To do their work properly, medical transcriptionists must be adept at using the modern tools of the trade. Speech-recognition software automatically converts recorded words into word processing software. However, the software is never entirely accurate and must be double-checked. As for equipment, an audio playback machine that comes with a foot pedal to control the playback speed is typically used.
If you have a wide vocabulary of medical terms and a working familiarity with diagnostic procedures, treatment assessments, pharmacology, anatomy, and physiology, this could be a career worth checking out. Even if you don’t, but are interested in learning, a good training program will equip you with everything you need to get started in a career that is bound to have continued opportunity in the years to come. (Where to find healthcare jobs?)