The professional healthcare team includes physicians, nurses, therapists, technicians, dieticians, and other healthcare support staff. A vital member of this team is the medical transcriptionist. While not as visible to the general public as those members of the team providing hands-on care, the medical transcriptionist plays an important role in documenting the quality of patient care.
Medical transcriptionists provide an important service to both physician and patient by transcribing dictated medical reports that document a patient's medical care and condition. These may include office chart notes, history and physical examinations, consultations, letters, memos, admission notes, emergency department notes, operative reports, discharge summaries, and many specialized laboratory tests and diagnostic studies. Medical transcriptionists transcribe reports from a variety of medical specialties, and each day's work presents a unique challenge and opportunity for learning.
Medical transcriptionists contribute to quality patient care through their commitment to excellence. Because each dictated report represents a part of a patient's life, the medical transcriptionist transcribes it with care, demonstrating an extensive knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy, pharmacology, human diseases, surgical procedures, diagnostic studies, and laboratory tests in order to produce an accurate and complete permanent medical record.
A mastery of English grammar, structure, and style, a knowledge of transcription practices, skill in typing, spelling, and proofreading, and the highest professional standards contribute to the medical transcriptionist's ability to interpret, translate, and edit medical dictation for content and clarity.
Medical transcriptionists work in a variety of settings, including medical centers, general and specialty hospitals, clinics and group practices, radiology and pathology offices, government facilities, insurance companies, home offices, and other environments. Some medical transcriptionists combine their transcription skills with clinical skills to work as medical assistants. Others become supervisors, managers, and college teachers.