Friday, April 4, 2008


Are you as puzzled as this young fellow appears to be?

The truth about MT is really quite simple. Patients need to visit doctors and hospitals when they get sick. Doctors treat the patients and they keep careful records of the entire treatment process. These records form a permanent history of a patient's problems and how these problems have been handled. Without a clear medical history, subsequent diagnosis and treatment becomes compromised.

As a simple example, think of a patient who is allergic to a drug like penicillin. If this drug is ever administered, the patient could easily die. A clear medical record will state the patient's drug allergies so that such 'mistakes' becomes nearly impossible to commit.

It is the MT's job to see to it that the audio dictated by the doctor is accurately transcribed into clear text, and in a standard format, so that professionals will know exactly where to look to find the 'drug allergies', to continue with our example. During or after a treatment process is completed, the patient may also need to make a claim on medical insurance. Again the patient's records are of great importance to the correct handling of reimbursements to the hospital and patient. All of these records, and there are masses of them generated every single day, need to go from being an audio dictation to a permanent electronic 'soft' record. In turn, this record can be accessed online as needed by authorized personnel or by the patient.

So, the medical transcriptionist will be sent an audio file. One listens and accurately transcribes the dictation in a standard format. The record, now as text and in digital form, gets sent back to the hospital, doctor, or clinic from wherever it originated and will be stored there in that hospital's database.

It is not a small industry. Thousands of job opportunities exist for someone with a bit of proper training.

Anyone can become an MT (medical transcriptionist). The most basic qualifications are a strong desire to learn the trade, perseverance, and dedication. While anyone can become a decent MT, those who have the aptitude can become great MTs and go on to editing and higher paying careers in the field, and some, mostly those who lack the drive, will not succeed. In other words, one's educational background is not all that important. What is very important is the person's desire to succeed. We have had so many successful students developing from among those who initially came to us despondent after having failed in some examination, dropped out off school/college, or were hesitant housewives who had left their own school days many many years ago.

Initially, it helps if one is good with languages, and it does help to have spoken English as a primary language, but believe me, these are just helpful in the very beginning of one's training and soon cease to make any difference to performance as the training progresses. Good training programs will start from scratch, assuming nothing, and teaching the student all that she or he needs to know in order to succeed as an MT. Mentoring helps too!

No comments: