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I’ve seen transcription needs change and adapt over the years, as new technology and ways of doing business impact what clients need. In 2020, it has been medical transcription that has come to the fore, as healthcare providers around the globe battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Medical transcribing is, of course, also used in a wide range of non-COVID-related settings. What is medical transcribing? We’ll cover that below, as well as exploring areas such as HIPAA compliance and specialised areas of medical translation.
If you need a medical transcript, I invite you to read on.
Defined Medical Transcription
What is medical transcription? It is the process of transcribing medical information from audio files. These files are recordings of healthcare practitioners’ voices. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals record their notes, then the medical transcriptionist meaning a professional transcriber with medical knowledge – types it up.
The medical transcription definition includes the transcribing of any dictated medical material, from case notes to lecture content. In some instances, physician dictation takes place over the phone. Increasingly, given the technology available these days, doctors’ dictation (and that of other medical professionals) is provided to the transcriber as a voice file through a smart phone app or over the internet.
What Makes Medical Transcription a Specialized Field?
I find a common misconception about transcription services is that there’s just one kind of transcriber, who can handle whatever transcribing work comes their way. In reality, transcription includes many specialize areas of work.
What is a medical transcriptionist? A medical transcriptionist is a transcriber who has in-depth medical knowledge. It is this knowledge requirement that makes medical transcription a specialised field.
The definition of medical transcription clearly assumes detailed medical knowledge and experience on the part of the transcriber. Without such experience, the process of producing the medical transcript would be long and arduous. I’m not saying it couldn’t be done by an intelligent transcriber without a medical background, but it would take much, much longer and be a far less efficient and cost-effective task.
The reason that medical knowledge is a requirement for this specialised area of transcription is because medical transcribing involves:
- Compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- Extensive medical terminology knowledge
- Experience in the medical field
- Pharmaceutical terminology knowledge
The requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act apply to all those who deal with protected health information, including those providing medical records transcription. HIPPA exists to protect patients’ sensitive data. It means that those providing medical records transcribing services must have appropriate physical, process and network security measures in place.
HIPAA’s requirements are stringent and in place for very good reasons. I find that those who are keen to undertake medical transcription work usually have a detailed understanding of their moral and ethical obligations when it comes to confidentiality. HIPAA is there to ensure that those obligations are fulfilled.
Extensive Medical Terminology Knowledge
This is an absolute must. Medical record transcription includes the names of diseases, parts of the body, procedures, treatments and much, much more. I mentioned above that it might be possible for a non-medical transcriber to produce a medical transcript but doing so would involve spending so much time looking up medical terminology to check accuracy that it would quickly make the work unworthwhile.
The Different Areas of Specialisation of Medical Transcription
While we define medical transcription above as a specialised service, it’s also worth noting that there are several specialist disciplines within the overarching medical transcription umbrella. Just as different types of doctors and different departments handle different conditions, so too do different types of medical transcribers.
One of the reasons for this is the huge amount of specialist terminology that a single field of medicine can require knowledge of. Another is that the transcriber’s medical experience may well have centred around a particular area of healthcare. Some examples of medical transcription specialisations include:
- Family health
This is by no means an exhaustive list. That font of all knowledge, Wikipedia, lists over 85 different medical specialities. It’s possible to break these down even further too, resulting in over 100 different medical transcription specialisations. It’s not surprising then, that medical transcribers offer plenty of variety when it comes to their experience and specialist expertise.
Right now, of course, one of the most sought-after specializations relates to knowledge of infectious diseases (specifically, COVID-19).
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