This first lesson looks at the history of medical transcription as a career. You will find out how the field has evolved into its modern form, and you will explore the various skills and aptitudes that you will need to succeed as a professional medical transcriptionist. You will examine the type of work MTs produce, where you might work, and what might be in store for those working in this career field.
This lesson focuses on the tools of the trade. You will review a few of the reference books and examine the types of websites that MTs use for research. Then, you will learn about the hardware and software that MTs use on the job. By the end of this lesson, you will be sitting at your computer, listening to a real medical dictation audio file and looking at the Express Scribe software on your screen. As you listen to the medical report, you will practice starting, pausing, and rewinding the audio as you tap away on the keyboard.
There are nine report types that medical professionals use most often in both hospitals and clinics. Medical letters aren’t much different from traditional letters, but since you might not have typed a traditional letter in a while, you might need a refresher. You will finish the lesson with some specific tips about pathology reports and how to handle numbers and measurements. Then you will practice transcribing a medical letter and a pathology report.
This lesson goes over how to listen effectively, discussing the difference between hearing and active listening. It will also discuss the many issues that keep voice recognition systems from replacing humans (for now), including homonyms, synonyms, and antonyms. You will learn how to use phonetics, vowel sounds, and context to figure out a word or phrase in a muddled recording. Next, you will learn about radiology reports and finish up by practicing transcribing one.
This lesson covers some subjects that might make you cringe a little: grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation. But this will be a painless, maybe even enjoyable, journey through some of the basic principles of writing that will help you become a better MT. Then, in your Practice Corner, you will learn about SOAP notes and then turn your attention to infectious diseases and medications. You will also have the chance to transcribe a SOAP note and a radiology report in the assignment that accompanies the lesson.
This lesson explores writing and talks about style from the MT’s perspective. When you’re transcribing, you must follow editorial directions in spelling, capitalization, and typographical display. And it’s those directions that are the style MTs need to be concerned about. You may be surprised at how many different ways you can treat a single word. Should it be capitalized or lowercased? Should you abbreviate it, or should you spell it out? Should your numbers be in digit form or word form? Finally, in your Practice Corner, you will focus on the H&P report and practice transcribing one.
No matter what you transcribe, one thing is a given: Medical terminology will be a huge part of it. One thing to remember is that dictators aren’t perfect. They might say one word when they actually mean another. Or they might say a word that has a sound-alike word, like cystitome and cystotome. If you have a good understanding of medical terminology, you can pinpoint the correct word to make sure your transcription is accurate. Then, in your Practice Corner, you will review the basic nature of heart disease and its treatment.
A critical component of the MT’s work is the way you put your reports together. This lesson focuses on breaking your reports into sections with headings, subheadings, special line spacing, page breaks, and other formatting niceties. You will also take a closer look at ways to make your work easier with word processing shortcuts, AutoText, macros, and templates. Mastering them will make you a faster and more efficient MT! This lesson’s Practice Corner focuses on surgical reports. Surgical terminology is important to know, and it’s also fascinating to take an inside look at what goes on in the operating room.
Another essential step in transcription is editing and proofreading your work. This lesson starts off with editing do’s and don’ts, as well as what to look for when you’re proofreading. In your Practice Corner, you will be covering a disease process that has, in some way, touched virtually everyone: cancer. Once you have an overview of cancer, you will work on the consultation report. Physicians often ask specialists to further evaluate their patients, especially cancer patients. So, this is a common report that you’re likely to transcribe regularly. The assignment for this lesson includes a consult report to transcribe, and you will also get to practice proofreading.
This will be a completely clinical lesson. You will learn about classification systems and their transcription foibles. And now that you have the bones of grammar and style down, you will learn about real bones. Finally, in your Practice Corner, you will learn about discharge and death summaries. They are very similar reports, but this lesson explains the subtle differences.
This lesson will be similar to the last in that it covers lots of clinical issues. It won’t all be clinical, however. In your Practice Corner, you will see how everything you’ve learned can come together in an autopsy report. This is probably the longest, most comprehensive report you will ever come across. And, of course, you will have the chance to transcribe an autopsy report in the assignment!
By now you have the tools and the knowledge you need to dip your toe into the waters of medical transcription, but there are still some big questions to answer. This lesson will help you learn how to manage your workload, discover all of the different ways you can work as a medical transcriptionist, and give you tips on finding a job in the field. You will also learn about further training options and what it takes to begin your career in medical transcription.