Celebrate National Medical Transcriptionist Wee

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Celebrate National Medical Transcriptionist Week

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Kathy Rockel, CMT

This week, medical transcriptionists (MTs) are celebrating National Medical Transcriptionist Week (May 17-23). The theme for this year’s celebration is “Medical Transcription: The Key Word is Quality.”

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This is a very exciting time in the world of medical transcription, and MTs have great reason to celebrate. Managers, supervisors and department heads can recognize this week as one set aside for MTs to celebrate a week of their own.

This year’s theme focuses on the importance of quality in medical transcription. In this age of technology, key words are used to search for important phrases connected to data, Web sites, etc. It naturally follows that when we speak of quality as a key word, it leads to medical transcription.

Although many MTs work in environments that stress production as a measure of worth, MTs have known for years that the key element in transcription is quality. Changes and innovations in the health care environment are providing increased opportunity for MTs to show that the basis for what is done is the quality of the document produced, not the keyboarding skills.

The forthcoming Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) Evaluation and Management Guidelines for documentation will reinforce the necessity of quality patient care documentation. MTs have an opportunity to become the “first line of defense” in a partnership with providers in assuring that their documentation is complete and accurate. In an arena where there is no margin for error, this will become critical for reimbursement. As the person who sees the documentation first, the MT can provide input to pro-viders regarding the completeness of the medical report at the time it is transcribed.

For some time, a hot topic in technology re-lated to patient care documentation has be-come voice recognition. This is a very exciting thing for MTs. Voice recognition will provide insight and understanding; it will further reveal that medical transcription is about the knowledge base required to perform the job, not the keyboarding skills. The final documentation will need to be edited by a medical language specialist in order to produce a quality document.

Recent demonstrations seen by this author have shown that voice recognition will require a medical language specialist to act as an editor, no matter how clear the input. Yes, voice recognition works to an extent. But does it produce a quality document on its own? No, not really.

I have yet to meet a manager of a hospital, clinic or medical transcription service that said, “There are just too many MTs out there!” There is a definite shortage, where the demand is higher than the supply. Why is that? If it were simply keyboarding skills that were required to perform the job, it wouldn’t matter. There are many “typists” in the work force, but the need is not for typists. Why is that? Because typists who do not know the language of medicine cannot produce quality patient care documentation.

If you are a medical transcriptionist, observe and celebrate this special week dedicated to MTs with pride. If you are a manager of MTs, plan activities that show your employees that you understand the work they do is vital to patient care documentation and the needs of your facility.

* Information on celebrating National Medical Transcriptionist Week can be obtained from AAMT by calling (209) 551-0883 or accessing AAMT’s Web site at www.aamt.org.

Kathy Rockel is an independent medical transcriptionist in Pueblo, CO. She is the 1998 AAMT president.

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