Practical Medical Transcription Tips

Remember that you're a part of the patient/care team. It's your responsibility to accurately and efficiently transcribe a physician's dictation into a report that goes into a patient's medical record.

Here's how to stay at the top of your game:

  • Maintain updated copies of drug/pharmacology handbooks, medical reference books, and medical transcription stylebooks.

  • Abbreviations and symbols are not always consistent between doctors or hospital staff. When in doubt, ask. Medical transcription graduates know how important it is to spell out abbreviations in order to reduce misinterpretation or error.

  • Be familiar with the different types of analog and digital transcription devices, even if you use one more than another.

When it comes to the business side of your career, whether you're an independent contractor or work for a company, maintain accurate and organized records regarding equipment and supplies, health insurance premiums, retirement plans, as well as networking and continuing education opportunities.

If you're self-employed as a private contractor or independent contractor, these tips will help keep your business running smoothly:

  • Keep your certification up-to-date
  • Obtain any business permits required in your area
  • Market yourself and your business through advertising and continually searching for new clients
  • Coordinate your workload so that the work you deliver is prompt and accurate
  • You may opt to work exclusively for only several clients
  • Offer great customer service
  • Pay attention to quality control and accuracy
  • Have a 'Plan B' in place in case you get sick or want vacation time

Tips for dealing with day-to-day stresses

Your job (depending on scenario) enables you set your own workload and to deal with a variety of clients, some good - and some not-so good. Follow these tips to make your life easier, and continually improve quality control and communication with your clients.

  • If you work from home, set specific work hours - this helps maintain consistency and productivity.
  • Focus on your work - when working, resist the temptation checking the news, your Facebook account, or emails from friends.
  • If you make a mistake, own up to it. Call the doctor/hospital or your supervisor and get it straightened out.
  • Customer service is the foundation of your business. Dealing with annoying or angry clients isn't easy, but work it out! Maintain a cool and professional demeanor at all times, even if you're angry or frustrated.

Tips for increasing confidentiality and security

Whether you're a new home-based medical transcriptionist or an experienced one, know and understand the importance of separating your workspace from that of the family. Try to set up a computer system used solely by you for your business.

Maintain confidentiality and privacy at all times. In all venues, turn your computer screen so that others cannot easily see any information on it.

Create a password to access your workstation or your accounts. This prevents unauthorized individuals from accessing your transcription system or transcribed records.

Set your transcription platform or system to automatically log off when you step away from your system for more than 10 or 15 minutes. Medical transcription experts suggest if you plan on being away from your computer for more than five minutes, logoff, regardless of where the work at home, a private company, or in a hospital.

Change your passwords frequently and create passwords that contain uppercase and lowercase letters as well as numbers or symbols. When working in a more public environment, change your passwords regularly.

When working on a system network, especially those utilizing a Wi-Fi router, encrypt your connection to enhance security and confidentiality of your work. You don't want neighbors or Joe Blow from a local coffee shop utilizing your wireless network, risking the chance that he can connect to your network and view your computer files, read your e-mail copy or monitor the websites you visit.

When sending files via e-mail, use encrypted e-mail. These have protection that discourage the sending or received a voice files and/or transcribed reports through without encryption, and will prompt you to do so.

When creating backup files or storing copies of transcribed reports on your computer system, encrypt the data folder.

Destroy saved records every couple of weeks, after you're sure the doctor has approved and accepted the records for inclusion into the medical report. (Once transcribed reports have been received and signed by the doctor, delete voice files from your computer).

Continually improve the quality of your work

Create a list that you can tape over your computer of words, abbreviations, or symbols with which you struggle. Be persistent! Always continue your learning journey, regardless of how long you've been a medical transcriptionist.

Learn about and understand the technology involved in medical transcription today. It's continually changing. If you don't keep up with the changes, you'll get left behind.

Remember, you can't memorize everything. Easy access to reference materials, whether you create them yourself or having a stack of books by your computer will make your job easier, more accurate, and help you to not only improve the quality of your work, but to deliver a better service.

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