All About Medical Transcription Software

As a new or experienced medical transcriptionist, it's important to have the best tools at your disposal. Doing so provides your clients with accurate and proficient transcriptions of their records. Aside from a computer, your medical transcription software is the foundation of your ability to do this.

What exactly is it?

Medical transcription software provides dictation capabilities, voice and speech recognition applications, as well as interactive directories, spell checkers and other tools to make your job easier.

Best of all, the software increases your productivity and turnaround time!

Medical transcription software platforms let you take dictation from telephones, digital audio files, and handheld personal digital recorders, just to name a few.

Using a headset and a foot pedal, a medical transcriptionist using such software can access a variety of dictated files in a number of formats, depending on the doctor's preference. Lots of transcription software packages offer built-in word expanders and medical spell-check dictionaries.

Word and abbreviation expanders can increase your typing speed by up to 70%. When you decrease the amount of keystrokes you make, productivity goes up. You not only save time, but make more money.

If you're serious about your transcription career, then this is a fantastic way of leveraging your effort!

Most medical transcription software packages offer autocorrect functions as well as templates for major styles and formats for all types of medical reports.

What to look for

The first thing is to determine your own needs. There are dozens of medical transcription software packages, each offering different functions and capabilities as well as fitting different budgets.

Think hard about the capabilities you'll actually need:

  • Will you be transcribing dictation delivered via a single or multiple telephone line dictation system, or not at all?
  • Will you receive dictation via telephone, iPhone, iPad, digital recorder tapes, or a combination of these?
  • Are most of your jobs focused on website-based document management, storage and retrieval systems such as FTP (file transfer protocol) when it comes to accessing medical transcription reports from an independent practitioner?
  • Will you be transcribing dictation from physical audio files (tapes)?

Standard features (and not-so-standard features)

When you purchase any type of medical transcription software, look for features considered standard in the field. These include:

  • Audio medical report to electronic file support capabilities
  • Medical terminology spell check functions
  • Customizable platform or screen displays
  • User-friendly graphical interface and functions

Stick to the basics when you start out.

Until your clientele increases dramatically, or you focus on transcribing documents from a specific specialty or subspecialty, you don't need all the bells and whistles that come with some of the more expensive software programs out there.

An affordable medical transcription software package may cost $200, while a top-of-the-line option may cost over $2000.

You can even find software that costs less than $100. While these cheaper programs may not have full functionality or options as the more expensive programs, the majority of medical transcriptionists find that affordable software is more than adequate for their needs.

Popular packages

Here are some popular, affordable packages, which may be just right for your need:

Start Stop

Start Stop logo

The Start Stop medical transcription system offers a variety of products to make your job as a medical transcriptionist much easier. It provides a professional and sturdy foot pedal that has speed control, forward and reverse functions, and lets you playback any type of dictation or digital recording.

The Start Stop system works with a variety of Windows operating systems (MS Windows 98, 2000, ME, XP, Vista and Windows 7), and also works on Blackberries, and iPhones. It supports audio playback support in nearly a dozen multimedia formats.

Some features of Start Stop include:

  • Built-in FTP
  • Job manager (to sort dictation by job type, priority, links, author or time)
  • Automatic notification of new and/or incoming work
  • Productivity tracking
  • Customizable displays

The Start Stop Universal transcription system averages $200, making it one of the most affordable medical transcription systems available on the market.


IntelliComplete is another efficient and extremely affordable medical transcription software platform. Major features include:

  • Auto completion of commonly used words and phrases
  • Embedded editing capabilities including case or tense conversion and adding line numbers
  • Clipboard management system that allows you to view a queue of up to 64 "clipboards" for easier job management
  • Integrates with any application on MS Windows systems
  • Library creation capabilities let you create your own lists of most-used words, vocabulary, abbreviations and shorthand

IntelliComplete starts at around $50.

Sylvan Software

Sylvan logo

Sylvan software offers a variety of resources, software and utilities for medical transcriptionists. Their software offers:

  • Document line counting capabilities
  • Medical spell check dictionaries
  • Keyboard abbreviation expanders
  • HIPAA-compliant file transfer protocols
  • Digital transcription kits including PowerPlayer DVD transcription kit, Olympus models, Sony WAV files transcription kits and more

The cost of the PowerPlayer audio transcription software ranges between $45 and $75, and is compatible with Windows. This specific medical transcription software includes position, volume and speed control.

Is your job as a medical transcriptionist threatened by voice recognition software? Find out here...

You should also be familiar with other common equipment that medical transcriptionists use.

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