Medical Transcriptionist

Certified Coding Specialist, Certified Medical Coder, Certified Medical Transcriptionist   More Names
Certified Professional Coder (CPC), Clinical Medical Transcriptionist, Data Transcriber, Documentation Specialist, Healthcare Documention Specialist, Medical Administrative Specialist, Medical Coding Technician, Medical Language Specialist, Medical Record Transcriber, Medical Secretary, Medical Stenographer, Medical Transcriber, Medical Transcription, Medical Transcription Editor, Medical Transcription Supervisor, Medical Transcription-Radiology, Medical Transcriptionist, Medical Transcriptionists, Pathology Transcriptionist, Provider Scribe, Radiology Transcriptionist, Radiology Transcriptionist/Radiology Clerk, Registered Medical Transcriptionist, Senior Medical Transcriptionist, Transcriber, Transcribing Machine Operator, Transcription Coordinator, Transcription Specialist

Listen to recordings made by doctors and other healthcare professions and transcribe them. Review and edit transcribed reports for spelling, correct grammar, as well as checking for clear expression and the proper use of medical terms before returning them to the medical professionals who made the recordings.

Healthcare documentation specialists (an alternative title for this career that is used in addition to medical transcriptionists) listen to recordings using a headset and foot petal to pause the recording when necessary. While doing this, they use a keyboard and word processing software to type text into a personal computer or networked system, such as that of a hospital, clinic, or doctor's office. They also use medical dictionaries, drug reference materials, and other sources to ensure accuracy and clarity. As part of this review and revision process, they make sure that any abbreviations or other shortcut ways of saying things are correctly spelled out or restated.

Editing or transcribing medical reports is highly detailed work that requires patience, focus, and attention to detail. Healthcare documentation specialists need extensive knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, medical procedures, pharmacology and other medical terms. They apply advanced clinical knowledge to the art of accurately interpreting and capturing patient care encounters, a skill set that must be applied in the challenging setting of enabling technologies, an expansive and constantly evolving medical language, and an often unpredictable array of practitioners who dictate in haste or speak English as a second language.

Some healthcare providers and facilities use voice recognition software to aid in the initial oral-to-written transcription. However, these drafts must be carefully proofed by a healthcare documentation specialist against the original recording to ensure accuracy. Further editing is always required to produce a comprehensive and accurate report since these documents become part of a patient's permanent medical records.

Most healthcare documentation specialists work in doctor's offices, hospitals, clinics, laboratories, or transcription service offices. Others are employed by medical libraries or local, state, and federal government agencies; and a number are self-employed and work as independent contractors for doctors or other medical professionals. In whatever setting they perform their work healthcare documentation specialists must meet the particular style standards that apply to the records they produce and follow the legal and ethical rules for keeping patient information confidential.

The career pathway for a healthcare documentation specialist may include advancing to become a supervisor as well as further training to become a medical records and health information administrator.

Credentials Needed: Neither state licensure nor registration is required for healthcare documentation specialists. The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) sponsors two voluntary industry-skill certifications for healthcare documentation specialists. The Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) credential is for recent graduates with less than two- years experience while the Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) is for more experienced professionals who also have working competency in a wide-range of dictation formats. More information about these two voluntary certification programs is available on the AHDI website.

Some Key Things to Remember: While state licensure or registration is not required for healthcare documentation specialists, employers tend to prefer those who have completed a postsecondary training program. This preference is because doctors and other healthcare professionals need healthcare documentation specialists who are skilled, accurate, and confidential in their work.

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Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
-3% - Decline slowly or moderately
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $28,660 - $43,700    Hourly: $14 - $21
Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

No specifc requirement is identified at this time.

Legal Requirements
Similar Careers

Medical Records and Health Information Technician
Typical Education: High School or GED (HS)
Salary (National): $29,940 - $49,770

(Data Drawn from O*NET)

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

Certificate (High School + 0-4 years, Certificate awarded)
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Percent Job Growth:

-3% - Decline slowly or moderately
Find Jobs

Typical Wages:

Annual: $28,660 - $43,700

Hourly: $14 - $21