Delving Into Medical Transcription Majors
When considering an online degree in medical transcription you must gain a working knowledge of modern medicine and the human body. Most medical transcription courses will begin by offering basic anatomy and biology courses, such as in the program offered by Penn Foster Career School. The curriculum will also include a basic course on medical law and ethics as well so transcriptionists will have a firm grasp on patient’s rights.
From there, the curriculum will shift to courses detailing modern medical coding. Coding courses will focus on applying medical terminology used in daily activities to ensure the accuracy of medical documents. Due to the extensive amount of typing and writing that is involved along with the fact that transcriptionists must edit as they go, curriculum will usually include both keyboarding and writing courses. A student must develop a strong knowledge of the English language in writing, grammar and punctuation and be able to weave them with modern medical terminology to create concise and accurate medical documents.
Due to the variety of types of medical facilities and physicians offices, students must also develop a strong background in all types of medicine. In addition, many programs require students take part in an externship at an actual hospital or healthcare facility to complete the course.
Like any education in the medical industry, courses will first focus on building a working knowledge of modern medicine. Expect to begin coursework with biology and anatomy courses before transitioning into courses that will deal more directly with medical coding systems. Because of the extensive detail needed when doing any kind of medical clerical work, expect to take courses on medical terminology.
Once into the heart of the curriculum, programs will teach methods of medical coding and transcribing. Many online courses require students to complete an externship before completion of the program, and though while not technically part of the courses students will want to complete the written RHIT exam administered by the AHIMA.
Supplementing Medical Transcription Majors
Since a career as a medical transcriptionist can be had by obtaining a certificate, there are several things that you can do to help prepare yourself for a career in the field as that can also help you stand out from the crowd when entering the workforce. While no hands on patient care is performed by medical transcriptionists, the more actual medical knowledge you have the better. Since transcribers spend most of their respective days working with a computer courses in keyboarding and medical computing will help as well.
Business law and ethics courses are also a good fit to understand the rights hospitals, clinics and other healthcare systems have when it comes to billing and accounts collection. Any communications course will also provide an advantage since communicating medical information gathered from doctors, physicians and other medical staff is the most essential part of the job itself.
While communication in itself is a very important part of the job, it means nothing if you do not know the proper medical terminology when transcribing information. Most medical transcribing courses will feature classes on medical terminology, but in a field that is constantly evolving and has so many different types of medicine, it is always a good to stay as knowledgeable as possible.
Learn More About the Medical Transcription Major
- Medical Computing
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical Transcriptionists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
Medical Transcription Majors in the Job Market
According to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment for medical transcriptionists specifically is expected to grow by 11% by 2018. Growth within in the industry will come from an increased amount of medical filing due to the growing elderly population in the United States. The median annual wage for medical transcriptionists in May 2009 was $32,600. The lowest 10% of workers earned a median annual income of $22,430, while the highest 10% of worker’s annual median income was at $45,700 in 2009.
In the office, medical transcriptionists listen to dictated recordings made by physicians and transcribe them into reports and administrative material. Most use a headset to listen to recordings and key text word processing software, making sure to edit for grammar and clarity. Once the document is completed, the transcriptionist passes the document back to the physician who dictated the original report for final review before becoming part of a patient’s permanent files.
Reports range anywhere from discharge paperwork to medical history and many others depending on the type of office the transcriptionist works in. The most popular mode for transmitting documentation is via the Internet. Once a transcriptionist has received dictation they are able to quickly return transcribed documents for approval. In some offices, speech recognition software is in use which is used to translate audio files of a physician’s dictation into text and then creates a draft. This allows transcriptionists the ability to edit the document for translation, punctuation and grammar and for any medical inconsistencies.
It is essential for transcriptionists to spot mistakes or inconsistencies in a medical report and develop an ability to understand and correctly transcribe treatments in order to reduce the chance of harmful treatment. Because transcriptions work in physicians’ offices, they may have other office duties to perform such as receiving patients, handling phones and handling phone calls.