Career Options For Medical Transcriptionists / Healthcare Documentation Specialists
An MT/HDS could also choose to be a private service owner who works as a single entity or provides employment for many transcriptionists and also seeks new contracts with clients. Many credentialed MTs choose to work with a team of healthcare educators as an instructor at a reputable college, and they can even become the sole program manager for a Medical Transcription / Healthcare Documentation training program.
In addition to working in a field related to Medical Transcription / Healthcare Documentation, MT/HDSs can choose to supplement their education and branch off from their specialization. Many Medical Transcriptionist / Healthcare Documentation Specialists become educated in healthcare records, ICD coding, or HIM professions through continuing education. There are many career options for Medical Transcriptionists / Healthcare Documentation Specialists. Check them out:
Team Lead Transcriptionist (Team Lead)
The Team Lead is the ‘go-to’ person for every MT/HDS in the organization and they have the responsibility of helping the other MT/HDSs on a daily basis. This would include on-the-job training of new employees; providing report production guidance, teaching facility policies and procedures, and helping with new dictators by providing samples of reports. Lead transcriptionists also manage the day-to-day responsibilities of the MT/HDSs in the department, which can include answering telephone calls, making deliveries to hospital departments, and other “non-transcription” duties. A lead MT/HDS would also be required to be proficient with department equipment, beyond the normal working knowledge, in order to help troubleshoot problems that arise. Other job descriptions can include ensuring the quality of reports, providing record keeping of production levels for the department, and researching new and difficult terms. The lead MT/HDS acts as a bridge between the staff and management, providing communication and sharing information vital to the MT/HDSs of the department.
Quality Assurance (QA)
A quality assurance (QA) specialist can work for a hospital, large medical practice or medical transcription/healthcare documentation service—large or small. The responsibilities of a QA specialist would be to assure the accuracy of the work being produced. The QA specialist would need to possess excellent editing and proofreading skills to control the quality of medical transcription/healthcare documentation reports. Editing these reports can require long hours of reading in a post-production review, and the reports are sometimes accompanied by the original voice file as an aid in listening to the dictation for ‘real time’ transcription review. The QA specialist should have superior knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and medical specialties like cardiology, gastroenterology, and others, along with excellent researching skills for those hard-to-find words. Responsibilities would also include providing feedback to MT/HDSs in the company or facility both as a valuable learning tool for the MT/HDSs and to provide continued improvement in the quality of the reports produced. The QA specialist would also be instrumental in establishing guidelines for employees to follow, as well as criteria for improvement in quality for individuals needing help in raising their QA scores.
Stepping into the role of a Medical Transcription / Healthcare Documentation manager or department head would require the individual to manage all aspects of the operation of an MT/HDS department including; performing managerial functions like staffing, evaluating performance, scheduling, keeping statistics on overall QA accuracy, and departmental report production. The manager would also set up policies and procedures governing everything from equipment use to style guidelines and report appearance preferences. Managers also supervise turnaround times for report production, plan for future needs of the department, manage additional staff, and schedule upgrades of equipment. An MT/HDS promoted to manager requires a combination of technical supervisory and interpersonal skills.
Billing and Coding
A Medical Transcriptionist / Healthcare Documentation Specialist interested in transitioning into billing and coding would definitely need additional training to move into this role, although their command of the language of medicine and experience creating health records would be a great asset. Positions in Canada are mostly onsite in a hospital setting and the individual currently needs their HIM certification to be considered for this position. The US has both on-site and at-home opportunities for this profession and candidates should receive training from a recognized school.
If you are serious about starting up your own Medical Transcription Service Organization, be prepared to work very hard and ensure you research the aspects of taking on this challenge. You will not only be responsible for obtaining your own clients but all of the other business operations. These can include purchasing furniture and equipment, building and maintaining a website, purchasing office supplies, securing software, marketing, bookkeeping, sales, customer service, E&O (Errors and Omission) insurance… and everything else required to run a successful business. This can be one of the most rewarding avenues to follow, but it can also require the most work.
To work at an AHDI approved school, MT/HDS instructors need to have their CMT or CHDS credential, at least 3 – 5 years’ experience working in the industry and be prepared to take additional instructor related training. Quality traits for good instructors include patience, empathy, great organizational and communication skills, outstanding computer knowledge and the passion for helping other succeed. This can be one of the most rewarding career aspirations and a very sought after position.
Like other well-known careers, having a solid education from an accredited school plus work experience can open many doors for a Medical Transcriptionist / Healthcare Documentation specialist. Do some research and find out which career options for Medical Transcriptionists will highlight your skills and keep you loving your work!