medical transcription (MT)

What is medical transcription (MT)?

Medical transcription (MT) is the manual processing of voice reports dictated by physicians and other healthcare professionals into text format.

The MT team of a hospital typically receives the voice files with dictation of medical documents from healthcare providers. The voice files are then converted into text.

The transcribed medical reports are usually created in digital format and submitted to the hospital's Electronic Health Record (EHR) or Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system.

Today, the medical field relies on speech recognition software and medical transcription software (MTS) for transcribing.

Duties involved in a medical transcription service

Medical professionals require a wide range of transcription services on a day-to-day basis. Their duties involve the following:

  • Transcribe the voice recordings of a patient's medical history for a variety of medical specialties including Radiology, Acute Care and Oncology.
  • Interpret medical information and categorize the data in notes, operative reports, patient records, consultations and discharge summaries.
  • Review and edit the transcription of speech recognition apps to ensure the accuracy of medical terminology and optimize patient care.
  • Enter patient information into the organization's medical records system.
Chart of 5 AI technologies that provide business value
The medical field relies on speech recognition software -- one of the five AI technologies driving businesses value today -- and medical transcription software for transcribing purposes.

How to become a medical transcriptionist

There are many education programs available for potential medical transcriptionists, although there is no single, standardized path to achieving the training required to be an MT.

However, in many cases, an MT will go through post-secondary education at a vocational school or community college. Along with this, the MT will have proficiency in English or whatever the healthcare system's primary language is, an understanding of medical terminology, and excellent typing and listening skills.

Candidates can become certified medical transcriptionists through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI). The AHDI offers two certificates: the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) and the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS).

The CHDS is only offered to medical language specialists who have already attained the RHDS certificate.

The future of medical transcription

The healthcare industry is increasingly adopting medical transcription services and software to create greater cost-efficiency for their organization.

This has led to rapid growth in the transcription industry as a more cost-effective, on-demand solution. By outsourcing transcription services, healthcare professionals no longer incur fixed costs for managing their needs in-house.

Along with outsourcing, speech recognition technology has seen and will continue to see an increase in adoption, with many organizations and MTs using it as a means to simplify and streamline the medical transcription process.

See also: hybrid health record, ambulatory medical record, clinical documentation, Amazon Transcribe Medical, Health IT and digital health.

This was last updated in March 2022

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