REPORT: State of the Medical Transcription Industry

Referral Blog12 Comments

There’s a lot of chatter surrounding the current state of the medical transcription industry. We’ve received questions from many of you as well as prospective students, current students, and graduates asking whether medical transcription is still a viable career option. This doubt and uncertainty is in direct contrast to what we’re hearing from our employer partners—they keep asking for more graduates! There just aren’t enough to fill their hiring needs!

But we know it’s easy for us to just say that the industry is alive and well. You need credible resources that SHOW your contacts that medical transcription is still a great career choice for those who want to work at home. So we’re proud to announce our State of the Medical Transcription Industry campaign. We’ll be working on this initiative over the next few months and will eventually have a wide variety of resources available for you.

So far, we’ve published a new ebook on the subject. Announced in this press release, the Top 5 Medical Transcription Myths ebook addresses several misconceptions we frequently hear from those considering (or not considering as the case may be) a medical transcription career:

  1. Medical transcription is going the way of the dinosaurs. Doctors just do it themselves now.
  2. All of the medical transcriptionists at our local hospital just got laid off. There are no jobs in my area for medical transcriptionists.
  3. You don’t need extra education to be a medical transcriptionist—as long as you can type well, you’re good to go.
  4. I want to work from home, but it’ll be years before that’s a possibility.
  5. If I’m working at home, I need special software or equipment to be a medical transcriptionist.

Make sure you check out the ebook, so you have the correct answers when your contacts express these concerns.

We’re also working with AHDI (the leading medical transcription industry association) and several large industry employers (M*Modal, Nuance, and Amphion) to put together a video and white paper highlighting their views of the future of the industry.

The AHDI annual conference and exhibit is this week (July 31-Aug 3) in Orlando, Florida, and during the conference we’ll be hosting a panel discussion with representatives from each of these organizations. This panel will offer an honest, candid look at the state of the industry from some of its biggest players. We’re going to film the entire discussion and will be providing a short video summary as well as footage of the entire thing for you to use. This discussion will also be a kick off for the development of a white paper (think ebook but a little more formal) on the state of the industry as well as an infographic coming in the fall.

Even in these early phases of this campaign, we’ve already heard from employers, industry experts, and industry educators that they believe medical transcription has a bright future. Several have even expressed concerns that the industry is headed toward a shortage of certified medical transcriptionists. We hope that this campaign will enable you to share the good news about the medical transcription industry with those you talk to.

Are you excited for these coming resources? Are there any that we haven’t thought of that you’d like to see?

 


Comments
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  1. Miki DiPietro August 02, 2013

    Thanks for the positive reinforcement of this email/article pertaining to the future of Medical Transcription. I am a Career Step student and half way through the MT program and I can’t be untruthful, the rumors about the future of MT has had me second guessing and at times depressed, wondering if I had made the right career decision. Well, I’ve stopped all of the self-doubt and I am back on track and also having a more positive outlook about my and all of our futures as MT’s. I am hopeful we’ll all land great jobs and make lots of money all while working from home! Thanks Career Step and good luck to everyone in the program!:)

  2. Tara August 02, 2013

    Though there still is and will continue to be much need for MTs and plenty of jobs available,  it does seem to be gradually moving toward more editing than straight transcription, at least with the big companies.  Rather than declining, one might say that the field is transforming due to technology, as are also many other occupations.

  3. Paula Caruso-Powell August 03, 2013

    Thank you so much for the positive and motivating information. I have heard many comments from many that are not in the field that “no one really uses transcriptionists, anymore?” When you try to give the statistics and valid points of how the field is changing they shrug their shoulders, and do not believe it. I will continue on the with the program, even though it is taking me longer than most. I am determined to finish, graduate, and get a job.

  4. Julie Ward August 15, 2013

    I was a MT for over 30+ years and LOVED every moment of it! If I hadn’t become ill, I would still be doing this wonderful job! Things have changed a lot, but one thing about working at home is that if their are no jobs in your area(s), you can transcribe anywhere in the world!! Some cities/states have changed their rules re: doctors doing their own (due to Medicare, etc)., but once you have this training and experience, you can live anywhere and work for anyone you choose; not just your local doctors/hospitals, etc. like when I first started! Good Luck to all of you who may choose this as your profession and I hope you LOVE IT as much as I did/have!! Try to do a variety of specialties to broaden your experience; it makes a huge difference!! May you have a blessed day.

  5. vandrews August 15, 2013

    Thanks everyone for your positive feedback! We love to hear success stories from our students and graduates.

    Vonda, Career Step Referral Manager

  6. MITA MUKHERJEE February 11, 2014

    Ya, I became hopeful. I have medical transcription certificate and I am fresher. May I get information about home based medical transcription job immediately?
    Regards.

  7. Career Step February 11, 2014

    Hi Mita,

    We don’t offer the positions ourselves since we only train medical transcriptionists, not employ them. Your best course of action if you’re looking for a home-based MT position is to start taking pre-employment tests offered by the companies that are hiring. If you pass the tests with an acceptable score, they will contact you to continue the hiring process.

    Hope that helps, and best of luck!

  8. Minetta Strauser March 05, 2014

    While it is true it is still a viable profession, the real question is whether or not you can make a decent living wage and right now you cannot do so without working 80 or more hours a week and the MTSOs will not allow you to work beyond the hours they set forth.  The pay scale is horribly low for editing and the flexibility that used to come with working at home is now gone.

  9. LaDonna Livingston March 05, 2014

    I just wish they would pay us what we are worth. I have been doing this for 31 years and I am worth way more than 4 cents a line.

  10. Connie March 05, 2014

    I have worked as an MT for 5 years now.  I keep hearing that straight transcription is moving more and more into speech recognition editing, which is part of the EHR software being sold to hospitals everywhere.  The CPL rate is half or less than what can be made with straight transcription.  I would be curious to know about this aspect of the business and how it has impacted the industry thus far.  What percentage has switched over to voice recognition editing?  How much transcription is being lost to voice recognition?  I’ve seen where many seasoned veterans of this profession have had their income cut to less than half what they used to make and that editing the speech recognition reports is a nightmare and would have been faster to type than to edit.  Any information on this aspect of the medical transcription industry would be very appreciated.

  11. Kathy March 05, 2014

    I am a current editor. Med trans is nearly obsolete. I do mostly editing.  To those in school:  this is not a career to make money at, the wages are very low, however it is a good supplemental income.  you will not survive on this job alone. working from home has perks, but it is very isolating. there are set schedules and minimum line requirements, it is hard to sit for 8 hours a day.  it is hard work, but good work and plenty out there. I love my job, I am 13 years in, have not had a raise in 2 years.  its hard to understand doctors talking, muttering, coughing and eating in your ear.  Come in with open eyes.

  12. Career Step March 05, 2014

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your viewpoints and experiences.

    Connie, we have a number of resources that you can look at for more information on speech recognition and electronic health records. This blog article (http://www.careerstep.com/blog/medical-transcription-news/does-voice-recognition-software-mean-the-end-of-transcriptionists) addresses the topic, and you can also find information in this video interview with industry employers and AHDI (http://www.careerstep.com/medical-transcription-industry-challenges-video).

    I would also very strongly encourage you to watch the video of our panel discussion that we conducted this past summer at the AHDI annual conference (http://www.careerstep.com/state-of-medical-transcription-expert-panel-video). I know it’s long, but there are a LOT of answers in there and the participants specifically talk about EHR, speech recognition, outsourcing, and pay rates. From about the 6 minute to at least the 20 minute mark, there’s a lot of discussion about speech recognition in particular.

    Best wishes!

  13. Cami February 06, 2015

    Do not get into this field. On the west coast, there are almost zero jobs and after 30+ years, I just got laid off with no prospects in sight.  Go to school for anything but this field. Even as an editor they pay is way lower than I used to make.

  14. Career Step February 09, 2015

    Hi Cami,

    Thank you for sharing your experience and viewpoints. We always appreciate hearing from those in the field.

    However, we still have employers asking us for graduates every day. There are reports of local MTs losing their jobs, but these positions are often turned over to MTSOs that handle the work remotely and hire domestic transcriptionists to do it. More information can be found in this article: http://www.careerstep.com/blog/medical-transcription-news/transcriptionists-losing-positions-explaining-the-true-state-of-things.

    We also conducted several video interviews and a panel discussion with industry experts and employers on the subject. You can see all of these videos at http://www.careerstep.com/videos-medical-transcription.

    Best wishes, and thank you again for sharing your experience.

  15. CathyH February 23, 2015

    I have been doing transcription for 10 years now. I would definitely not recommend going into this profession.  Go for coding/billing instead. The ads you see for making 40K a year at this are really misleading. I am lucky if I make an hourly minimum wage even after 10 years. More and more of the MT companies are outsourcing and therefore our pay is next to nothing.  Run, don’t walk, away from medical transcription. Sorry to be so negative, but that is the honest truth. I wish someone would have been that honest with me in the beginning.

  16. Linda P. August 02, 2015

    I am currently going to school for this work and I am very worried that I will not be able to find a job in this field. I wanted to have a job that would allow me to stay at home with my kids. Now the school I’m in is ending their program and that has me very worried about my future. I am starting to wonder if I am going to have to find another field of work.

  17. Cyndy L August 18, 2015

    Linda P - It breaks my heart to see your kind of post.  No one in good conscience should still be taking a dime of anyone’s money to train for this field and tell them there are still plenty of jobs out there.  There are NOT! 

    Beware of going into coding though too.  Coders (experienced ones that is) are in demand now, but once the ICD-10 system is in full play (starting this October), there are already plans to automate as much of that as possible. When that happens, coders will join us long-time MTs in the ranks of the un- or under-employed.

    If you’re wanting something you can do from home, I’m really not sure what I can advise that is not slated to go somewhere in the foreseeable future the way MT has gone.  What I would suggest for anyone wishing to get into healthcare below the RN rank is training as a medical assistant, but that involves working outside the home.  The move is on to have MAs do not only their usual clinical stuff but also add the administrative stuff that MTs, admin assts, secretaries,schedulers, and such have done. In my area the move also seems to be (at least in the outpatient setting) to get rid of LPNs and use lesser paid MAs instead. You certainly will never get rich on MA pay, but at least there would be some modicum of job security.

    Being a medical scribe is a possibility too, but they are pitching that job to college students and other such folks who want “medical experience” before attempting medical school and who can be paid the low wages that go along with that.  Scribes at least in my area tend to get paid as little at $9/hour and no more than $15/hour tops.

    Some of the tech disciplines may be viable (ultrasound tech, radiology tech, etc), but again that requires on-site work.

    Believe me, I get absolutely no joy of being such a Debbie Downer here.  I loved doing what I did, my doc clients loved me too, and they are mostly extremely frustrated at spending their carefully rationed patient care time looking out over the top of their computers at their patients.  However, in the end Administration did not give them a choice but to either do it all themselves in the electronic record or dictate it to be farmed out to a large company that outsources almost all of it to India, Pakistan, or the Philippines (while keeping a small token U.S. work force so they can “claim” to their clients to use domestic MTs).

  18. Career Step August 19, 2015

    Hi Cyndy,

    Thank you for sharing your experience and perspective. However, we have to respectfully disagree based on what our graduates are finding in the industry and what our employer partners are telling us.

    Medical Transcription
    Over 94% of our medical transcription graduates get jobs after graduation. That’s a current statistic too; it’s not a holdover from a previous era of medical transcription or anything. If our graduates look for work, they find it. In just the past few weeks we’ve had 8 medical transcription employers contact us asking for more graduates to fill their positions. These are at-home positions too.

    Linda, if you’d like to know more about the demand for medical transcriptionists, we recommend you check out these interviews we did with industry employers and experts: http://www.careerstep.com/videos-medical-transcription.

    Medical Coding
    There is an incredible need for medical coders too—and that need has made it easier than ever to get a foot in the door and start a coding career. The shortage of medial coders is expected to be up to 50% by the end of the year, and that’s BECAUSE of the pending ICD-10 implementation.

    While it’s true that employers are looking to automate as much as they can with the implementation of ICD-10, that’s because it’s so much more complex than the ICD-9 system. The ICD-10 transition will decrease coders’ overall productivity, so employers are trying to make that up in any way they can. There’s no way that they’ll be able to automate everything to the extent that they can get rid of the coding workforce though. If you want to hear about it directly from a coder, check out this video: http://www.careerstep.com/career-profile-medical-coding-billing-video.

    We’re partnered with a number of very large coding employers. Some of the largest names in healthcare (including the leading provider of healthcare services in the U.S. and one of the nation’s largest managed healthcare companies) are using our training to prepare their employees for the ICD-10 transition—which in some cases even includes training employees in other positions such as medical transcription or chart analysis to become coders to meet the need for these professionals.

    We also have partners like IOD Incorporated that prefer to hire Career Step graduates. IOD is even ramping up their hiring in preparation for ICD-10 because MORE coders are going to be needed after the transition.

    If you’d like more information on either of these industries, you’re always welcome to contact a Career Step Academic Advisor at 1-800-411-7073.

    Best wishes!

  19. Anne September 20, 2015

    Cyndy L. is absolutely correct.  I’ve been an MT for a hospital system for 15 years.  Yes, I love it but I don’t see it lasting much longer.  This is a dead field.  It didn’t need to die, it was legislated out of existence.  But the end result is the same.

  20. Carol Snow October 17, 2015

    I was a Medical Transcriptionist for 35+ years - and usually worked more than one job.  I worked in offices, in the hospital, at home also. I live in a town of 400,000 and only a few years ago, I watched Medical Transcripionist jobs disappear all around me.  In most of the offices, the doctors, with the help of special software have begun doing their own dictation.  I have also watched quite a bit of dictation going to India.  It’s really only the older doctors who want to continue having a transcriptionist.  The newer younger doctors, PAs, Nurses, etc. are totally comfortable and perfer the new way of doing things.  PLUS—can you imagine the money that doctors offices are saving not paying MTs…and don’t forget, all the benefits most employees get.  I feel that I retired at the perfect time.  I loved being an MT.  Today - I would never encourage anyone to spend money or become trained to do this type of work because without a doubt - the jobs are disappearing fast.  I know some MTs that are still working, but they honestly don’t feel secure.  MTs are becoming obsolete.

  21. Sharon Olds May 10, 2016

    2016 and the industry is DEAD!  Loved my 25 years while it lasted.  This is sad but you have to keep it moving.  Hope everyone has found stable jobs out there.  I am now a front desk clerk.  Way less money but right now stable income.  Kiosk system has already started some front desk work, so here we go again.

    Hi Sharon,
    Thank you for sharing your perspective, and we understand your frustration. The medical transcription industry has certainly changed and evolved significantly over the years, but we are still seeing job opportunities and our graduates report finding jobs they are happy with.

    Our medical transcription graduate success library highlights just few experiences our graduates have had in finding employment. Please take a minute to read a few of them: http://www.careerstep.com/student-reviews/medical-transcription

    We recognize you won’t get rich working as a medical transcriptionist, but it is an excellent option for someone looking to work at home.

    We sincerely wish you the best of luck in your new job!

  22. Jill McPill September 29, 2016

    Great response, “We recognize you won’t get rich working as a medical transcriptionist, but it is an excellent option for someone looking to work at home.”

    I don’t think anyone went into medical transcription expecting ‘to get rich.’ I do, however, think that people expect a fair wage and to be able to pay their bills.

  23. Manohar November 04, 2016

    It is disheartening to note that MT industry is running a downward depressed path in US. When I joined the Industry, I heard that speech recognition system was also there but none confirmed about the replacement with MT industry.

    Any way, when God has shut down one door, he will open the other.

    Good Luck!!!!

  24. Career Step November 08, 2016

    Hi Manohar,
    Thanks for your comment! There is still certainly a need for medical transcriptionists. Take a look at this video for info from industry employers and experts on what they’re seeing:  http://www.careerstep.com/videos-medical-transcription

    Best wishes!


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