What is a Medical Transcriptionist’s Job Description?

April 22nd, 2022

Transcription simply means a written or printed representation of something. The earliest records were surgery notes on papyrus in 1600 B.C. In the past, physicians who treated their patients were also required to create detailed handwritten notes and discharge summaries of each patient. This was extremely time-consuming which meant doctors had less time with their patients, but by early 1900, this changed. The main responsibility of a doctor lay in treating the patient, and this is when medical transcriptionists, also known as MTs, started increasing in popularity.

medical transcriptionist's equipment including headsets A medical transcriptionist uses different types of equipment during the medical transcription process.

A medical transcriptionist in Ontario works in a variety of healthcare settings including public and private hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics, research centers, medical schools, and rehabilitation centers. Some transcriptionists also choose to work from home while being employed by a healthcare facility, a transcription business, or as independent contractors. The flexibility to work from anywhere is a big advantage for anyone thinking of making medical transcriptionist their new career.

Medical Transcriptionist Duties and Responsibilities

To ensure a patient receives the best care and treatment, accurate notes play an important role. A medical transcriptionist helps improve the accuracy and efficiency of medical history, diagnosis, treatment plans, prognosis, discharge summaries, operative reports, and more. According to Lori Mann, Medical Transcriptionist instructor at triOS College, “The first key skill to being a successful transcriptionist is to have a desire to learn the anatomy and physiology of the human body and learn the vast world of medical terminology associated with this interesting and ever evolving career of transcribing medical reports. The skills to be able to learn and absorb the information is through a solid-based education delivery model and exposure in an internship setting to build the ground-work necessary to be successful in this excellent career choice.”

A speech recognition software is now often used by physicians, nurses, or medical assistants to record dictated notes. An MT will review the automated notes and compare them to the original recording to ensure accuracy by making changes or corrections to transcription as required.

Medical transcriptionists have a wide range of responsibilities that include but are not limited to:

  • Listening to audio recordings of physicians and healthcare professionals and transcribing them into medical reports
  • Using specialized software and transcription equipment including headsets and foot pedals
  • Editing and correcting dictation performed by speech recognition software
  • Using full forms of medical abbreviations, acronyms, and medical jargon
  • Converting transcribed notes into report formats for diagnostic test results, procedures, and treatment plans
  • Proofreading work for grammatical, typographical, and punctuation errors
  • Checking transcripts for formatting, inconsistencies, and missing information
  • Following rules on protecting patient confidentiality
  • Entering medical reports into the electronic health records system or submitting transcriptions to healthcare facilities for their approval

Medical Transcriptionist Key Skills

To be successful in the role, below are key skills that every medical transcription should have.

  1. Good computer skills in Keyboarding, Microsoft Office which include Outlook, Microsoft Word, and basic computer-based learning platforms.
  2. Being able to work independently is a key part of being an MT. Focus, concentration, self-motivation, diligence and avoiding procrastination (in home-office settings) with problem solving skills will ensure success.
  3. Problem solving skills with attention to detail in order to be an independent contractor working for online transcription companies. This includes the ability to be constantly using resources available to you and open to continued daily learning.
  4. Multitasking skills which includes adhering to work schedule timelines, listening and typing at the same time and managing workloads to meet deadlines with minimal stress.
  5. Having a sound understanding of medical terminology and the anatomy of the entire body. This is often required and desired by prospective employees.
  6. Fast typing speed (that is consistent with accuracy of the reports) will help you deliver on time-sensitive projects and enable you to produce large volumes of work when required.
  7. Speed is important but typing accuracy should be your priority. There are several things to keep in mind such as using the correct medical terminology, spelling, capitalization, information, report formats, etc. Mistakes in medical transcriptions can change the meaning of what is being conveyed. A 99% accuracy is required in the industry. This means having the ability to produce error-free and correct medical terms being sent by various dictators of many different disciplines of medicine.
  8. Having good listening skills is a major advantage. Medical terminology often has complex words derived from Greek and Latin, and the person dictating may speak fast or have a strong accent.

Medical Transcriptionist Salary

How much you make as a medical transcriptionist is dependent on your geographical location and your level of experience. Canadian MTs usually earn anywhere between $23.22 and $33.26 according to Job Bank Canada. In Ontario, the median and high wage is $20 to $35.17/hour.

How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist

If you are looking to work in the healthcare industry with flexible work-from-home options, then a career as a medical transcriptionist may be the right choice for you. The medical transcriptionist role requires a lot of knowledge, which is why specialized training is a must. Your first step to becoming an MT is enrolling in a medical transcription program. Gaining field experience through the program will help you put what you learned to practice and build confidence.

Graduates will be eligible to take the Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) exam through the Association of Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI).

Gain a qualification with triOS College’s Medical Transcriptionist program.