Friday, April 4, 2008


So, what is medical transcription all about?

Well, there's a huge demand for doctors' dictations (audio files) to be turned into text, in a standardized format, and that is what doing medical transcription is all about.

Doctors, patients and insurance companies all need to have reliable transcripts of the diagnosis and treatment that has been done for the patient. Doctors do not have the time to sit and type out reports (that was the old way of maintaining patient records) and so this service is provided by companies who specialize in doing the job.

Accuracy is expected to be 100% but in practice anything over 99% is considered to be good. Because patients' lives depend on the accuracy of the reports and because speed is also of the essence, good medical transcriptionists are much in demand.

It takes a solid amount of training in language comprehension, medical terminology and computer skill to make a good transcriptionist. It also takes a lively curiosity, a constant desire to improve in knowledge-skill-speed and the discipline to keep at the job till the allotted files are safely returned to the sender.

Typically, in India, a good MT can earn over 25,000/- in a month.

But, for many transcriptionists the desire to keep improving and to do more and more challenging work will lead to moving on to proofing, then editing, and finally to taking responsibility for quality assurance (QA) or even to managing a whole team for a client. If one keeps at it, a salary of 50,000+ is not unreasonable.

One of the most exciting aspects of learning to be an MT is that there are no prequalifications. Anyone who has the will to learn can become an MT.

We see so many young people who failed to graduate high school but go on to become excellent MTs. If you have dedicated yourself to succeeding and are willing to put in some rather long hours on properly laying your own foundation, you can become a good MT.

Most institutes will have a look at your language abilities when you first apply and then give you a suitable training schedule. For those whose language is poor we put them through a three to six month foundation course. This FC will teach you both the theory and the practical aspects of understanding language. As a bonus, your spoken English will also get highly polished!

After getting through the FC, or if you already have a decent command of English, you can jump in with the core training program that lasts for 3 to 4 months. Intensive coaching can be expected taking 6 hours a day at the training center and at least a couple of hours of homework on your own.

You come out with a good working knowledge of medical language, computer skills, comprehension of even the incomprehensible and the ability to reference your way to more and more knowledge. If you have been sincere, the training center will also probably see that you go straight into a good job at one of the many MT production houses in the area.

The best institutes have a high student to trainer ratio (better than 1:12), will give equal emphasis to theory and practicals, and will set your standards high.

Perfection is always the goal.

Don't be fooled by offers to turn you into an MT with 2 or 3 months of part-time effort. Believe me it can't be done, and you will just be wasting your money, and your precious time, on such programs.

After getting through a competent training program, you should be able to get through an entrance test at any good production house with the ability to confidently transcribe at least 250 lines at accuracies of 95% and above. So, don't sell yourself short and settle for less!

Knowing MT is something that gives you tremendous flexibility. You can do MT whenever you need to, for there is always a good demand for good MTs, so it can help to tide over a rough patch, or contribute the extra income that you need. Home based jobs are plentifully available for good MTs and editors. Full time students in colleges, housewives, and househusbands can earn more sitting at home and in between chores/homework than those who hold down full time jobs outside. At the same time MT can be a very fruitful and rewarding main career with good opportunities for growth and the potential for excellent income generation. You know, the greatest beauty for me is that the only qualification is your dedication, and everything else will fall into place.

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