Over the years, medical transcription has evolved from verbal dictations and hand-written records to digital audio recordings and electronic health records. Despite the job title remaining the same for decades, technology has forced the profession—and medical transcription training—to change. Here are just 6 ways the profession has evolved to stay current in our digital age.
1. Electronic health records:
No more file cabinets and penciled appointments! Medical records are now mostly digital, and hopefully soon all patient records will be able to be easily exchanged and accessed by providers, patients, etc.
In order for electronic health record systems to be able to access patient information, health documents need standardization: everyone needs to be on the same page. This standardization demands everyone use the same terms as well as the same formatting, coding, and even computer programming. Medical transcriptionists must be trained in health terms, vocabulary, format, and more to make health records easy to read and understood from provider to provider.
2. Electronic recordings:
Just as records are now digital, doctor’s dictations are now electronic recordings. This gives medical transcriptionists more options when it comes to work hours and even work location—with a computer and internet connection, many professionals are better able to meet the needs of their families by working flexible hours from home. However, there is a downside too: the doctor is far away when the transcriptionist has a question or when a recording is muffled. That is why it is imperative to get quality training that includes practice with real dictations.
3. Less room for error:
Transcriptionists’ work has always needed to be incredibly accurate. However, today’s increasing demands on physicians have created an environment where it’s more important than ever for the medical transcriptionist to provide a quality check; they are the front lines of identifying and flagging errors in patients’ records.
4. Increased expectations:
In today’s digital age, people are used to getting things instantly. Employers demand a faster turn-around than ever before. Luckily, increased productivity is totally possible thanks to widespread internet access, cloud-based medical record storage, and digital productivity tools.
5. Voice recognition software:
Voice recognition has changed many traditional transcriptionists’ roles to that of an editor. Instead of creating the record from scratch, many medical transcriptionists now review and edit what the software generates.
6. More formal training:
Previously, a doctor could hire anyone to take down patient notes and write medical records, but the process is now more stringent, requiring formal training in order to provide the needed accuracy and productivity. The good news is a quality formal training program will fully prepare you to be a medical transcriptionist despite the industry’s digital evolutions. In fact, many certification programs have also adapted to the digital age. For example, Career Step’s Medical Transcription Editor training program is offered online, can be completed at a flexible pace, and is continually adjusted to prepare students for industry evolutions. Additionally, this training’s curriculum prepares you for the current job climate, includes medical terminology and standardized forms, and gives practice with real-world dictations.
Are you a current student or new medical transcription professional? It’s likely that new technological advances will alter the industry throughout your career, so be sure to keep up-to-date on new developments to stay current and valuable in your position.