What to Look for When Hiring a Medical Transcriptionist

Hiring a Medical Transcriptionist

Whether you are choosing to hire staff to get transcription done in-house or are opting for outsourcing electronic medical transcription services, the process of selecting the right service can be quite time-consuming and also daunting. While you try to make the right choices there are few specific factors to will need to consider, especially as the transcription records form an integral component of your daily operations.

Here’s what you need to look for when hiring a medical transcriptionist.

Knowledge about medical terminology

While the transcriptionist doesn’t need to have a medical degree, it is important they at least have some idea and basic knowledge about medical terminology, especially about anatomy and physiology, disease process, and procedures. This is because the medical transcription record’s accuracy is crucial for eventually getting the right clinical documentation. If the transcriptionist doesn’t have even basic knowledge about the terms, it becomes difficult for them to convert the dictated notes into transcriptions.

The last thing you need is a wrong diagnosis or treatment. Hence when you look for a transcriptionist, it is necessary to look for someone familiar with medical terms, preferably someone who has previous experience or has taken at least a short medical course or training program. Since the medical transcriptionist more or less documents the entire process of your patient’s treatment, you cannot take the risk of the transcriptionist not having enough knowledge about medical terms.

Computer skills to do the job

Your in-house transcriptionist or the ones working in the company you are outsourcing it to, will be constantly working in front of the computer. They would need to know how to use and operate things like word processor software, basic office equipment, etc. Make sure the transcriptionist you hire has the capability to handle this well and displays a keen and sharp mind to coordinate between the recording and computer well, and is able to turn out accurate records within a short span of time.

Sometimes the transcriptionists may need to co-ordinate between office staff regarding data and will require uploading or downloading important files; hence it is necessary you check that they have basic computer know-how, as you most probably would not have time to train them in your busy schedule.

Good typing skills

During the selection process itself, inform the prospective candidate that they would need to have necessary typing skills for converting recorded data into electronic files. Generally a speed of at least 35 words per minute is good to start with and then later on they can increase to even 50 wpm. A good typing speed greatly helps increase productivity and efficiency of the office. If you are opting to outsource to an external company who will provide you electronic medical transcription services, then instead of blindly trusting them you could send a list of specific criteria.

Sending the criteria in advance such as typing skill, turnaround time, and other such things expected from the transcriptionist, helps avoid any misunderstanding later on. Most experienced medical transcriptionists will be aware about the four medical transcription work modules- history and physical examination, consultation, operative report and discharge summary.

Good grammar & writing

In medical transcription a large portion of the work requires to have a good understanding of the English language including grammar, spelling, and writing. So besides looking for someone with medical know-how and computer skills it’s also important that they have a fair grasp of the English language.

It can be very difficult to deal with transcriptions which are very unclear, due to the medical transcriptionist not knowing proper English. Also besides it not making any sense at all, if the transcript is unclear it can leave more room for mistakes, which can also impact the patient’s treatment process and also turn out to be very costly for your practice.

Accurate & good listener

This job requires someone who is detail oriented and can easily spot inconsistencies between the recording and the final report while proof reading. It is best to hire someone who has the ability to sort, check, count and verify not only words but numbers correctly. Accuracy and error-free transcripts can be challenging, but it is essential that the transcriptionist manages to maintain a fair amount of accuracy always.

Someone who is a good listener will be more likely to decipher difficult and incomprehensible accents, rapid speech, inarticulate recordings and disturbing noises. This skill is very important as you would want to at all costs avoid dangerous circumstances such as wrong treatments administered due to medical misinterpretation resulting from inaccuracy. Physicians today are highly aware about the legal consequences and spoiled reputations occurring due to such matters and hence are extra careful in each step of their treatment.

Besides all the above factors, the medical transcriptionist should be good at research which is an important part of the job. Google and Wikipedia are most preferred amongst them, which offer requisite information about different diseases and medicines. Research helps confirm at times whether what the transcriptionist is working on is the correct subject. Someone may already have all the above skills or may need to get gradually trained as he or she becomes familiar with the working of your clinic or medical facility.

If you feel getting a medical transcriptionist in-house would take quite a lot of your time and effort to train, then consider outsourcing to companies which have been offering transcription services for a while now, such as Eyered, to provide high quality and cost-effective medical transcription services. This assures you that most of the above criteria are fulfilled, without incurring the high costs of hiring and training in-house.