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Serving Over 20,000 US Medical Transcriptionists

Is our profession drying up?

Posted By: Nancy on 2005-09-26
In Reply to:

I'm an independent contractor and have just lost an orthopaedic clinic account to EMR.  Also, I've been sending out hundreds of letters for new accounts, and I'm hearing nothing back! 

Is our profession (clinic work) drying up?  This is getting very scary!

Could someone either (1) comfort me with "it's not true" news and there's more than enough clinic work out there to go around, or if you find that it is, indeed, drying up, write back and tell me of your experience.

Thank you `` Nancy in Alpharetta, Georgia


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Not drying up...sm
If it is drying up, then I am a fool for still sitting here working 12-16 hours days and still have accounts with an abundance of work, so I would have to go on the side of there is still pleny of work out there to be had!

Possibly if you only had the one account, you might consider having a couple...this allows for work more of the time. I have multiple accounts I work on every day, work harder where the most work is. A couple have daily lines to hit, other are just work and keep up on TAT, so rarely do I have a day where I cannot keep busy for 8+ hours. All of this but one account is clinic work, all in different states...so not even working in any one corner of the US, but across it.

Also, are you trying to stay local, as could not help you there as I have always avoided that one. Do not need to be running every day with gas prices. I want to sit and work, not play office games...one of the reasons I LEFT the offices, so I go nationally for small accounts and keep enough that I am busy each and every day even if one or two accounts would not load or be closed for any reason.
it's very drying to the skin, and I can't imagine
making my puppy or dog uncomfortable with dry skin.

Just try it, wash your hair or body in DAWN soap and you will be itching like crazy. It dries your hair out horribly, leaving you with flyaway frizzy hair. But talk about itching, OUCH AND UNCOMFORTABLE.

Sorry, but that's just how I feel.
This is our profession -- a profession which is dying, I might add. SM

So I should get a hobby so I won't care, like you?  A hobby isn't going to pay the bills.  I can't afford a hobby because in addition to working for a living, I also have to study in a different career field in my spare for fear that eventually transcription will be strictly an offshore operation!

Welcome to the profession. Get used to it.
Consider another profession?
To standardize testing you have to have every single company use one lone resource. What if company A is more concerned with ESL skills, company B is more concerned with oncology, and company C would like to know whether you rock at op notes? How do you standardize testing to cover every area that a given employer might want to concentrate on?
Definitely a profession. This is a
you will get a lot of pessimism and negativity.  I definitely have made tons of money in my own business.  Sounds like low self-esteem on the posters below, unhappy, depressed.
This is not just in this profession but
all over. I sat and waited on a call yesterday (my off day) regarding a piece of property I have up for sale. No call at all. I really hate to leave a message on a recording because most of the time you are ignored. Times have changed and not for the good. I think the majority of my family including my mother and my grandmother who are deceased would probably be shocked at today's life as we live it.
which profession
would you let us know what you decided to do? I'm wondering what I want to do next.
re: which profession
Dental Hygiene...usually takes 2 years but have to do it part time so I can still earn a living so is taking me 4 - I'm more than halfway done though, so can't complain...
our profession

This is old, but has anyone read this??  I must research further what the final outcome was.  While I totally agree with what they are doing and why, I totally DISAGREE with their final recommendation for standardizing line counts. VBC is not the way to do it.  



You ask anybody in any profession
They will say they are worth more than they are being paid. That's the way it is everywhere. I make good money sitting at home. My local hospital pays their transcriptionists 9.40/hr. Big deal! I'll rather stick with a MTSO any day.
Our profession/New job

About three weeks ago I began a position with a local health care company (transcribing for local acute care hospitals but part of a national chain).

We are not really transcribing, at least not by my definition (21 years of experience).  Rather, we are recording medical ShortHand (abbreviations [even in DIAGNOSES section], shortened medication names, slang, contractions, etc.).  On the one hand, they claim they want you to type it verbatim (no expansions, additions, etc.), yet OTOH they say to delete redundancies, repetitions, etc., which is hardly verbatim. We are not allowed to expand, add to, or correct ANYTHING except number and tense dictated by ESL docs, who comprise about 60% of the dictators.  In addition, certain dictated terms are to be abbreviated (e.g., "emergency room" transcribed as "ER").

The supervisor had the gall to look me right in the eye and deliver a harangue about how these are "legal documents, and we have to transcribe EXACTLY what they say."  (Conveniently disregarding the bit about deleting redundancies and the other "allowed" changes.)  So ALL of my previous employers, AAMT, etc. did it wrong, and THEIR crackerjack legal department is smarter than everyone else?!     Don't think so.  Cutting costs is the game they're playing; everyone can see that.

Excerpt from a typical report looks like this:  Wrote scrip for vanco 100, patient also to take aspirin 81 and will return next week. I don't think .... [blah blah blah]

AAMT taught me to create a complete, coherent, grammatically correct document that doesn't look like alphabet soup.  Needless to say, I don't feel good about what I am creating and HATE THIS JOB!!

I'm just curious if this is happening elsewhere.  With all of the emphasis on "cutting costs,"  I have to think that it is.

Thanks for listening to my splenic venting.

A - No future in this profession.
Get a 4-year degree and open up your options.
Good for you... and for our profession.
Find a new profession!
You never told us you had another job as a fortune teller! PUHLEEZ - your crystal ball is nothing more than an average bowling ball!
Stop trying to stir up trouble!
MT Dying profession

I don't agree with you.  I'm betting that MT is good for MAYBE 5 more years.  Maybe.  Thinking they won't perfect VR is only fooling ourselves....they will.  I wouldn't recommend MT to anyone looking to enter the field.  Money better spent on something with a better future but what that would be, I don't know.  Seems everything that can possibly be offshored is being offshored.  Maybe we should move to China   Then we can be sure to have jobs seeing nearly everything in the U.S. comes from there anyway.  Or maybe, the way things are going we had all better learn to like rice, cuz that's probably all we'll be eating before long.

Regarding MT being a dying profession...
I have actually read in numerous places that MT is a job with future opportunity, in light of the baby boomers beginning to get old and sick.  That's going to supply us with a lot of medical reports for a very long time.  As for voice recognition taking over...I'll believe it when I see it.  I know an MR who does VR and I've seen the gobbledegook that it comes up with.  Eventually all these companies will realize that they were sold a bill of goods by these VR vendors, but because they've invested so much in this technology, they're going to stick with it until the bitter end.  Just my opinion of course.    Finally, outsourcing.  I'm  pretty confident that  something will happen that will put the kybosh on sending private medical records off to Calcutta for transcription.   I think that practice will also stop eventually.   I could be totally wrong and maybe I'll have to put away my rose colored glasses, but for now, that's my prediction.
MT Dying Profession
Sad when you work for a company that you thought was great and all of a sudden the work is yanked away and you sit with nothing yet you see the company advertising multiple times. When you look at what many posters say, that seems to be one major problem with this profession. The companies have no loyalty to transcriptionists. The best places to work are small local services, if you can find them. I don't recommend to anyone who asks me that they get into this profession. I used to, but not any more.
MT dying profession
I totally agree, Dano. They have absolutely no loyalty to MTs OR QA for that matter - we are nothing to them. I don't feel like a respected professional who is rewarded for her expertise and hard work anymore; I feel like a factory worker in an assembly line (no disrespect to those who work in factories, BTW)who just has to pump out the work as soon as possible - it's all about numbers to them. That's why in addition to working in this field, which I have been doing for 10 years (and would have quit by now if I could!), I am going back to college to get my degree in dental hygiene. I can't wait to get out of here. Used to make good money - no more. Used to be respected -no more. They only want cheap labor. Anyone looking to get into this profession - don't be fooled by the lies - do something else!
definitely NOT a profession...criteria are...sm

criteria for a profession are extensive college required, also person's work autonomous. Separate body of knowledge required for work. Think of lawyers. Extensive college, they work independently, i.e. they don't have supervisors, editors, etc., and law has its own body of knowledge. Even nursing is on the edge as far as being a profession, not quite autonomous enough. MT certainly doesn't fit the definition of profession.

There's a difference between a profession and a job.
Dictionary.com states that a PROFESSION is, "An occupation, such as law, medicine, or engineering, that requires considerable training and specialized study."

That means MT, being that most MT's have no post-secondary education, or at most bare minimum "MT school" training. O-net on-line (occupation information network) states that 14% of MT's have a bachelor's degree or higher.

This is a joe-job, plain and simple.
here's some dict def's, i think it IS a profession.

noun: an occupation requiring special education (especially in the liberal arts or sciences)

noun: the body of people in a learned occupation
Word origin info is available.

Wow, maybe you are in the WRONG profession then, you think? nm

New MTs entering this profession
I don't think it is so much about MTs being all for themselves.

Virtually every newbie needs a great deal of QA support. It is costly. The first urgency of this field is turn-around-time. Slowing down TAT because all of your reports have to be QA'd costs. Having to stop and give you feedback so you don't continue in the same path slows QA down ... again, TAT suffers and this costs. Newbie work needs the QA because quality is the 2nd urgency of this business.

So, it's not your coworkers fault. Not really the MT service companies' fault either. This is the nature of this very competitive business.

It's always better for newbies to go to work inhouse in a hospital and get their experience before working from home. You have to be really self-sufficient to work from home and make it profitable for both yourself and your employer.

Defined by profession
I have never met so many people quick to judge and I realized that these folks must be defined by their profession which is really sad. Really sad. What's even worse, is like you said, they obviously need respect from others to feel satisfied by what they do. I made no assumptions in my initial post. Sure, I can type, would it have been better had I said I can't type for a darn but want to do MT??? Sheesh. I thought it was more important that I stated my computer skills in general are top notch.

I am not looking for something to make a living at. I already have a career that I love and am passionate about. Was just looking to find out what kind of training I should do, or if I should even do training, so I can do something involving computers from home.

Every job, like you said, has those that think they are better because of this skill or that skill that you don't have. I may be an engineer, but I'm a young female in an all male industry. Talk about fun earning respect with that! But I'm not defined by my choice of profession. I love what I do and that's all that matters to me.
Gee...isn't that the profession YOU signed up for as well?
Constantly correcting mistakes?
I would like to retire in this profession too
but fear for my job's safety. I unfortunately think the bottom line for a lot of these hospitals and doctors is the $$ and nothing more. They want to save money and don't care about the quality of the reports any more. I hope I'm wrong but I don't think so.
Not just in the medical profession
I've seen the same thing with executives and non-execs in many fields. I've had to listen to dead space, too, and yes, it's a waste of my time. Unfortunately, there are lots of time wasters for everybody, and after the post on turnabout is fair play, I can't seem to have such animosity about it. I can speed the dead space up and chat on the board or do some of my correspondence, etc while I'm listening to the dead space.
This is why MT profession is in bad shape

For some reason, some MTs think since they work from home they can do the job "their way."  This in turn, has caused the MTSO to impose such strict requirements regarding TAT, daily line counts, etc.  Remember - they DO have to meet the obligations of their clients. 

There are truly some great MTs that really require a flexible schedule, etc, but these "no-show, no-brain" MTs are ruining  a good profession for the rest of us.  I admit, it is hard to test for MT companies especially when the tests are long, but I can't blame them a bit - at least it weeds out some of the airheads. 

I am not a MTSO and never have been.  But, because of this situation it is hard for me to find a decent job because of the need for a flexible schedule and because I am not a fast/high line producer. 



This godforsaken profession has no
Wrong profession?

I know there was a post about this yesterday, but I did not want to taker hers over.  I am just wondering if I can really do this.  I have been doing this 3 years and have been at the same company.  I just got back 5 reports this morning that just have me almost in tears.  Granted, some of my mistakes were stupid and should not have been made.  But, others that were sent back to me I really have issues with.  Some of the "mistakes" were not typing "Jane Doe" in the report instead of typing "the patient," which directly goes against my account instructions.  Also, was told not to expand an abbreviation in the diagnosis section because my account is verbatim.  I just do not agree with this!!!!  Plus, had different instructions on the same thing.  The QA is totally inconsistent, and let the QA manager know what I thought of some of their changes. 

I do think that I am a good MT.  I have a new position starting with a great company soon, and I just want to know that I really can do this!!!  Any advice??

This is the only profession that the older
you get the less money you make.  I hate it too and looking to get out!!
MT is a dying profession??
MT profession getting lower
I would rather not work for a company that doesn't value our experience enough to pay a decent salary. Good luck. I pass.
I would find another profession

As an MT with 20+ years experience,I am finding another career...I can't imagine just starting out in this field, as those of us who have been here for a long time do not get treated fairly anymore...you can't make money, very few online companies appreciate anything that you do.  Like I tell my daughters who are all under 21 years of age, get a degree in something and then if they want to do this type of work, do it as a side job, but don't count on it to make a living...it just can't be done anymore.

Good Luck! 

This profession is currently so unstable, don't even know where it will be
There is nothing wrong in saying that about this profession
because I am 1 of the over 30 years the OP specifically asked to respond to this and who know what it was like before. I started in the 70s and then paid incentive plus an hourly salary and was really proud of having that under my belt. Left that hospital after 10 years and moved on to the next hospital, my gravy train supreme here. There were 2 transcriptions for the entire place and I made really big money there, base salary, incentive and hello, weighted dictators that we even got more money on for transcribing. I was buying stock in that hospital chain and bought just as much as my pay allowed every 2 weeks. Human Resources made mention 1 day of how much I made and told them no worries to the hospital, only 2 of us for the entire place. Outsourced to a company that basically would not quote a price they were going to pay us so I said thanks, no thanks and started to beat the pavement looking for the next job. Another hospital, 30 thousand less than the first place to start but hey, needed a job. Worked way up there, salary, incentive and then VR comes along. Taught that and outsourced to where it is now. I know what a gravy train is, have ridden before, went on down the tracks and places now offering 3 cents a line for VR work. Soon the MTer will be paying a company to work for them at this rate.
It isn't over. It has just evolved like every other profession.
I really hate the sky is falling type of perspective. This profession is no different than any other. It has evolved, changed. There are things to let go of about it and things to embrace. As with anything that is successful or living, it must keep growing and changing. Those who are flexible and determined will stay with it and draw great benefit from it.

Our wonderful profession...SM
and also he should know and we all should know about the MT survey done in 2007 by David Gary at Bentley College, a wonderful piece of work that I wish President Obama would read also.
Have been with this profession probably longer
that most of you have been on this earth. I, too, have paid my so called dues. I care not if the retired person hangs out with foreigners, that is her life. I do not have to have tea with someone that I would have to grit my teeth to listen to and that would be the case with me. I specifically tell any dealer I call if someone from another country trying to speak to me there is a language barrier and I would like to have someone who speaks not broken English. Having said that, I do not like to listen all day long to foreigners. I did not start out this way, hardly any in fact and now we are completely up to our necks in people who cannot speak correct English. I care less what people think about me, I can be politically incorrect if I like, try not to even have a PCP of my own, hear too much of that every day. Just the way I feel and my previous husband said if you think it, might as well say it.
the profession is not respected because
too many of the people who are in it refuse to behave like professionals. Have you bothered to find out how your employer feels about working in a public place?
Our profession gutted ITSELF, and those of us

You need to find another profession
Why would you take something like transcribing a report personally? Do you watch news and hear about murders and take that personally also? Your job entails probably a lot that you personally would not like but to not transcribe a report because of belief system? Time for you to go to Wal-Mart.
A must read for our profession...any thoughts?

We must be more open-minded and willing to adapt.  MQ actually may have the right idea. 

This is an excerpt from what is, in my opinion, a reliable source:

In the US, transcription will morph over time, and ultimately, transcription as we know it now will be thought of as an archaic, cumbersome, expensive, inefficient, and inadequate part of the healthcare documentation process. How long will this take? Probably decades more, but within the next decade there will be increasing evidence of its decline.

The decline in medical transcription will not be seen immediately through dramatic changes in the numbers of MTs, or the money spent in the industry, or the number of reports transcribed. Rather, the initial evidence will be the increasing interest in and adoption of new technologies that offer direct, real-time, point-of-care documentation methods; this has already begun. The handwriting is on the wall, and anyone who has analyzed it will have to take notice: it is not speech recognition, but the opportunities that mobile health care brings to practitioners that will be the biggest threat to transcription. Although mobile health care is in its infancy, it seems clear that, in the future, practitioners will capture information at the point of care and largely without transcription.

At first, these changes will be enhanced by transcription, but more and more they will be facilitated by structured interactive dialogs, decision-support tools, speech recognition, and natural language processing, as well as XML-based processing tools. There will be no dramatic date on which history will look back and say, this is when transcription died. Rather, it will be a slow process. Some might call it an insidious process, but that implies intent, and I donít believe the intent is any longer there, though it certainly was in the past.

MT is profession, not a sloppy hobby. sm
Well said.  And that is why I am fed up with the whining.  It reflects badly on us all.  If someone interested in MT comes on and reads the posts, they are going to think MT is full of whiners who are at the mercy of the companies.  They will read posts with simple typos and think you don't have to be precise and professional to do this job.  That is not how I want my profession to be viewed, especially when I think of all the hard work I put into this job.  So take you typos and whining to a blog, where just those of you with no pride in your profession and no ambition will have to be witness to it.
job hopping is not easy in this profession

Jerk you around, simply because you are remote and cannot do much about it and they do not have to deal with face to face combat.  Blow a lot of hot air in your face to get you through the door, once you are there and the door shuts, whole different ball game, am I right ladies?  Its FRIGHTENING to start at another MT job, i've gotten severely panicked over it, and while you are getting jerked around by your new manager, the phone bill, car bill, etc., do not stop coming.  I like knowing I have a steady PAYCHECK without a doubt, rather than chance it and jump around and get behind on bills because yet another co was not honest.  I'm at the top pay scale at MQ, would never give that up unless I found something I couldnt refuse, i.e. editor, paid hourly 18+ , full benefits, RESPECT.  ha! maybe at the end of the rainbow.

I agree - there are those types in every profession - SM
I was just making the point that we can't expect to make the same amount of money that a doctor does when he has gone to school for at least 8 years of his life to be an expert at what he does.........
Poll: Is MT a profession or vocation? nm
It's about as much of a profession as being the cashier at Walmart
talk about denial!
actually, motherhood is the oldest profession..

Yes, but every profession, including journalists,
have their own set of rules that they use.  I used to know the Associated Press book of style but that was many years ago.  But since journalists always use pleaded, I am just that is one of the AP style rules.  It is really quite fascinating.  Like when referring to the president, the first time they would say President Bush, but subsequent references to him would be Mr. Bush.  Also, you never, never, never call someone a suspect  without throwing that word ALLEGED in there.