One of our students recently sent us a link to an article about the Mayo Clinic Health System, which is essentially letting all of their current transcriptionists go. The student was concerned (with good reason) about the job opportunities in the field she is training for. The title of the article “Transcriptionists Losing Positions” does not sound good to someone currently investing time and energy into learning how to become a medical transcriptionist.
As a graduate support team we get a lot of questions and concerns that sound like these:
Is there demand in the industry? Is the industry dying? My doctor told me that they are getting rid of their transcriptionists and that I shouldn’t waste my time in this field.
Because these are pretty common questions and we want to make sure you have the best, most accurate information, we want to take the time to explain this current disconnect in the industry. Why are our employer partners contacting us with increased hiring needs, with our graduates, week after week, successfully reporting employment while, at the same time, students are hearing from doctors—or even other MTs—that positions are disappearing and this is no longer a viable career?
When you hear about transcription as an industry, you need to keep in mind that there is a difference between the local market and the national remote (work from home) medical transcription market. There are three main types of MT positions:
Local MT positions where you work onsite
Even though transcription is considered a work-from-home industry, there are still MTs out there who work in local offices. They go in to work at their clinic or hospital, perform their work, and go home. Sometimes they are paid by the hour like a typical employee, and other times they are paid by their line count or other production measures.
Local MT positions where you work from home
With the internet and technology improvements, more and more local facilities have allowed their MTs to work from home transcribing for that specific local hospital or clinic. All the work they perform is related to the doctors at that hospital or hospital group.
Remote MT positions where you work from home
The last type of MT position is that where the transcriptionist works from home for a specialized company that handles medical transcription for a number of facilities, which can be from various geographical areas. These transcription companies, called MTSOs (Medical Transcription Service Organizations) acquire a number of accounts (medical facilities, clinics, hospitals, or hospital groups) and then hire MTs to complete the work. MTSOs are headquartered all over the country and hire transcriptionists to work for them on a national level. You do not have to be living in the same state where the company is headquartered in order to work for them.
The Mayo Clinic Health System as well as the hospitals and doctors’ offices you visit when you get a check-up or take your children in are part of the local market (the first two categories). Most individuals who hear something about the industry are hearing it from contacts on the local level in those first two categories. But most of the companies CareerStep partners with are part of the third category in the national/remote market, and the two markets are actually experiencing different trends when it comes to employment.
Many hospitals, clinics, and offices in local areas are letting their transcriptionists go or eliminating that position entirely when they implement speech recognition software. MTs that have worked there for years lose their jobs. Doctors observing this on the front end see transcription positions being eliminated and therefore discourage individuals from choosing this career. Are they providing false information? No, they see positions disappearing and they’re commenting on that. What they are not commenting on, though, is where those jobs are disappearing to. Where are the jobs going? They are moving away from the local market to the MTSOs in the national market.
In the case of the article about the Mayo Clinic Health System, this is exactly what is happening. Mayo Clinic Health System has decided to move their positions from the local level to the national remote level, which is a growing trend in the industry. According to the article, Mayo Clinic Health System has decided to outsource their services to Precyse Solutions, an MTSO headquartered in Pennsylvania and Georgia with MTs working for them from 39 different states (according to precyse.com).
Once CareerStep graduates pass the final exam, they get access to Placement Direct, which includes an employer list of over 100 MTSOs that have hired CareerStep graduates in the past. These companies, like Precyse Solutions, are companies that are based in the US and hire MTs in states all across the country to complete their work. Whether it’s straight transcription or editing work depends on what stage their accounts are in the implementation of electronic health records and speech recognition technology.
CareerStep graduates from the Medical Transcription Editor (MTE) program are prepared with both skill sets—transcription and editing—because we want them to be as marketable as possible after graduation. We developed our MTE program at the request of our MTSO partners to train new students on the editing skill set, and most transcriptionists now do a combination of transcription and editing. With the continued shift to electronic records, we expect this shift to editing to continue.
Many of our graduates are hired every week by national MTSOs, which only reaffirms the fact that companies are hiring and that CareerStep prepares students well for those positions. While the local market is experiencing the unfortunate effects of the move from the local to the national level, the national market is absorbing those positions and, thus, growing every day.
Please don’t give up on your training; your skills are needed & there are ample medical transcription jobs for those with the right skills & training. Employers are looking for qualified transcriptionists and editors, and we want to help you reach your goals to qualify for their openings. We look forward to working with you as graduates of the program!
CareerStep has been involved with many other industry experts in discussions about the national industry, and we’d encourage you to read/watch the other materials available about the changes occurring in the industry.