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Serving Over 20,000 US Medical Transcriptionists

all that PLUS, when I started 13 years ago, electric typewriters were still used (smile!) no message

Posted By: soon-exMT on 2005-09-14
In Reply to: If you doubt progressive technology, remember - in 10 years we've gone from (sm)


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20 years ago, MTs worked at the site, using typewriters.
Those who moved with the times and learned to use technology kept their jobs. The description of MT is changing and we need to be ready to change with it.
Do any of you think that offshoring is going to turn into one awful mess at some point, and MT work will come back home, because I do. This is like an accident waiting to happen, with records going out of the country. It's bad enough that medical records are being stolen here out of the backs of cars and from curbside dumping of computers, but just one unethical MTSO in another country who has access to records and can hold a US company hostage could pull the rug out from under the offshoring system. The same is true of other aspects of what's happening here. When some hospital is sued because of sloppy physician records that the Dr. entered into an EHR, and investigations start happening, we could see some tightening up of what is going on. Things have been pretty slack for a couple of years. That could change as fast as a CEO is put in the slammer for scamming investors.

It's a smile. Tilt your head to see it more clearly.. No message..
When they first started 8 years ago they were bad.
They have improved with time, experience and consistent feedback.

It bothers me too, but I faced the fact some time ago that the situation is not going to change.

Some of our clients don't know it either. Others specifically request it(lower pricing). Sad, but true.
37 years. started when i was 15. nmx
That's how I started out 30 years ago, too. - sm
Biggest career mistake of my life. My friend went to court-reporting school - tried to talk me into it but I wanted faster results. Back then MT pay was almost comparable to CR pay, too. I figured, why go to school 3-6 years, when I can go for 20 weeks and have a job? So I chose MT and look what happened. It didnt matter after all these years whether I was good at it or not... the field is drying up in terms of being able to support yourself at it. My friend? Steady work, good money, owns a nice house, put her kids through college, etc.
That's what I started at 9 years ago SM

as an IC at the local hospital and at first, didn't make much money, but as I got more familiar with the dictators, I could do 150 minutes in 6 1/2 hours. That was a good deal. I left because:

1. I got bored.

2. I worked 7 days a week plus all the holidays.

3. I thought the grass was greener elsewhere. I needed bennies and the hospital, even though my work was good, wouldn't hire me as an employee because then they would lose #2.

When I first started out 10 years ago,
my very first job paid $.055 per 55 character line. My next job three months later paid $.07/65 characters. Then I had a hospital job paying $10 per hour plus incentive. Moved up to opening offers of $.08-.09 cpl with nationals. Got tired of nationals. Made very decent money for the next 2-3 years paid $.12/gross line until those two contracts got outsourced or went to VR. Got a part-time job outside the home in a different field for six months until that company laid everyone off. Now I'm trying to find another $.07/65 cpl job. Ten years later and I'm in the same place in life again.
If you just started MTing, how could have have been an MT for 10 years?
That's what your post below says.
9 years this month...started in

Well she started out as a reporter 26 years ago.
She's not poor by any means!
I started getting symptoms after about 3-5 years. Nobody could believe it. sm
Fellow MTs told me it was too early, but nope. I had the tests, and had/have bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. Think it's anatomical for some. I have very tiny wrists, and I've read that sometimes that can be related.

Some 15-20 years later, I had endoscopic surgery on the right side. I wouldn't recommend endoscopic. If you get surgery, go open. I learned later that it's usually more effective. I still have symptoms in both wrists, can tell no improvement in the right hand.

Best things: Physical therapy was the very best, but Worker's Comp obviously wouldn't pay for that forever. Cat's Paw (exerciser) is cheap and mimics a lot of the stuff I was doing in PT.

SmartGlove when I work. Helps a lot.

Trackball - huge difference.

Shorthand - I have made it my hobby to learn to work smarter instead of harder. I studied the productivity sites and am constantly working on building my ShortHand file. It's rare that something isn't in it. I have gotten to where it shows a savings of about 50% keystrokes, which is something to think about. It's like working half a day and getting paid for a full day.

Rest. Get up at least once an hour, go to your dining room table, put your palm flat on the table and press down. You should feel a really good stretch. And then I take at least 5-10 minutes to break. Maybe not the best thing for productivity, but the best for longevity.
I started 35 years ago this month. sm

I started in a small hospital in the Midwest and spent 6 years there, then moved to the West Coast.  When I started, we had two reference books, Dorland's and the Surgeon's Syllabus (a red much used book).  We were on Royal typewriters, four carbon copies, all colored with different color white-out for each copy.  Our dictation came in on wax records with the stats at the switchboard station.  They would call us when one came in and we would walk down and get it.  They were on lilac wax and the others were on a salmon color.  We had little record players at our desk and we would transcribe the wax records, then put them in a press to take out the grooves and use them over and over.  I loved working there.   We then graduated to the Norelco reel-to-reel, and then to the Dictaphone plastic belts, then the magnetic belts, and then the MT/ST, then the Mag-Card, and finally to the computer, then to the Lanier pop-up tape system, then to the Sony Network, and then to digital voice.  It's been a long joury and I was with one employer for over two decades before being sold to MQ. I had the best boss in the world, generous to a fault, but then MQ came along and offshoring and the MT business went down, down, down. I make half of what I used to and I work twice as hard. Benefits are hard to come by and there is no security.  I long for the old days.

I quit for several years and started again.....
I'm a moron.  I hate it and I hide it from my kids.  It stinks.
This really is pathetic. 5 years ago I started out with .07 and they are still only paying that?

started at about 8K PT 2002, last couple years 12K but
I did not work much in 2005 for about 6 months when my 5-y/o got diagnosed with cancer and going through chemo, etc. So I would have made a bit more. I expect to do about $16K this year. I alternate my hours a lot though, about 60 or so minutes of work during the school year a day, but then only 30 during the summer, plus a side job that fluctuates ($300-500 a month). I am shooting for $20K next year, still not at FT (5-6 hours a day). I'll see how it goes. I think $12K for PT is good, but that is my opinion.
Ive worked Sundays since I started transcribing 18 years ago!
..but i know that they always need to be covered and people keep getting sick and having operations... holidays too.   we are in one of those kind of jobs.  i love having time off during the week to get things done though. 
Yes! My kids (above, age 22 and 24) started out making more than I make after 30 years of MT!
I proof as I go. I didn't when I first started umpteen years ago. nm
I started a neighborhood watch a couple of years ago...sm
we were having similar problems to what you're having and they're gone now. Here's what worked for us. I gave every home in the subdvision a flier asking anyone that was interested in forming a neighborhood watch to come to an organization meeting and made the meeting a week later and on a week night, and gave my phone # in the event someone was interested but couldn't attend then. Out of 150 homes in my subdivision we had 40 people show up and 20 called expressing interest.

Everyone had the same complaints on the same "problem" homes and as a group we decided that each time the noise level was high enough to hear outside of the vehicle or house that we'd call the police. We all alternated placing those calls so the police department didn't think it was just 1 person complaining. The police department agreed to increase the patrols for our subdivision at all hours of the day and night and just having people see them ride through every few hours helped significantly cut down on the problems.

Over time the people that were causing problems either put their houses up for sale or moved out of the rental home and left when they saw that we neighbors insisted on a peaceful and quiet living area. It worked! When these problem homes left the problems with the trash thrown on the roads left as well.

In addition we were having some problems with some of the youth hanging out walking the streets at all hours and it was making some of the residents nervous, especially when the youth were walking through yards. So, we told the youth to stick to the roads, ask permission before cutting through yards to find out who cared and didn't care if they walked through them, and one of the men placed a basketball goal at the end of one of the cul-dec-sacs for the kids to play basketball after the neighbors in the cul-dec-sac agreed it would be fine. It worked - some of them started playing basketball there and they honored requests of homeowners that didn't want them walking on their yards.

Good luck to you!
I've been in MT for 20 years. Started out in the office at a hospital.

Switched to working for services from home for a while and now I work for the same hospital I started out at, but I work from home now.  So I guess you can say I've come full circle and now I'm back where I started.  I much prefer being an employee of a hospital versus an IC or employee of an MTSO.

It may be that your user profile in EXText is not set up to allow you to add normals.  I've found with services they don't give their MTs a whole lot of freedom with their software.   

Before typewriters...
Why, I remember when we had to sit in the doctor's office with just a pen and paper while he dictated - it wuz great when typewriters were invented!
Typewriters (let us remember) sm

I know we are in a "throw away" society and some others would like to "throw us" away as well, but bear with us while we reminisce. We did not have "cut and paste" nor did we have the ability to spellcheck, use word expanders, etc., etc. We had to use carbon paper for copies and when we made a mistake, we had to use an "eraser" on all copies and not smudge or make a hole in the copy. If the error was not "fixable" via this method and made the document "look sloppy" we had to tear up the whole thing and do it over again. We had red or blue dictation "records", red, blue or brown "belts" and there was no dictating over these, we would mark the dictated portion "done" with a marker and it was reused at the blank spot until full. Then came white "correction tape" which would only take care of the top copy; the others had to be erased. At one service I worked for, we were allowed only one small 2"x4" strip for the day and had to sign for it. Then came "white out" and we had to buy our own bottle. So please, give us credit for paving the way for technology, it is sooo much better than before. If you think that's bad, before my time they used to use a round cylinder which was "scraped" of the dictation and reused. At one time, IBM came out with a "poker chip" for dictation - that went the way of the Edsel automobile. How we did it, I do not know. There were actually manual typewriters, no electricity. At one client's she told me she typed autopsy reports by sitting in the autopsy room with a manual typewriter while the doctor dictated directly to her what his findings were.

The next time you work with a senior transcriptionist, tell her you're proud of her for sticking with her profession and tell her you don't know how she did it in the "Days of Yore" and you'll put a smile on his or her face. We like to be appreciated, we spent a lot of time in the trenches with the troops and we were willing to change. Long live medical transcriptionists! We are from BC (before computers) and lasted this long!


Typewriters - and we had to share the Selectric so SM
we wouldn't fuss.
I have 13 years experience and just started a hospital job working from home making $16 an hour

and with a really good incentive plan.  I live in the Kansas City area.  $10 seems like a low starting point even with only two years experience which is the usual benchmark for hospital MT jobs. 

It's been my experience that the low end of the pay scale for hospital employed MTs was around $12 an hour.  Also, it's been my experience that the pay offered is usually based on years of experience and how well you perform on the transcription test.

I would say if their pay is that low, they should at least be making it up with incentive and it doesn't sound like they are.


I remember doing secretarial work on those old typewriters. I can't imagine MT w/o technology.

Every year technology makes my job easier.  Google, internet dictation, spell checks, expanders.  I can't remember the last time I opened a reference book.  Direct deposit.  Banking on line.  I can't remember the last time I was actually inside a bank.  Love the technology for MTs and payment process. 

I do remember standing in line to get check cashed on Friday at lunch when I was a secretary in medical office. Ughh.  I do remember having to get all dressed up to sit in an office w/o windows, too hot in the winter and too cold in the summer, to type and file.  Ughhh.  I remember lines of traffic going into town to get to work and then trying to find a place to park close to the building.  Ughh.

Lovin the new things/gadgets to make my life easier and don't look back with any regrets for the "good old days"

Just one thing though. I wish we were paid according to 2005 cost of living standards.    What's up with that?


I quit once for 3 years, but then started again. (Quit cold turkey when I did)

Our electric went up 68% and gas sky rocketed. sm
I have gas heat and with the heat wave and humidity now and in the summer, my air conditioner will be running and my monthly bill is $380 just for air conditioning. My heating bill in the winter runs about the same.

That is $4500 a year for gas and electric. So, I would take your oil contract any day compared to my bills.
Wow, that's really high for electric
We have total electric (includes heat, air, and all appliances), and our bill is around $200 in the winter, $100 in summer. We get a break on the rate for having total electric. I feel lucky......
electric bill
Yes, our electric bills have been outrageous. Last month was $199.00, and my new bill came in and is $256.00 also! I too live in California, and we get shafted with the utilities in this state. During winter months my gas bill was as high as $175.00 which is almost five times what it used to be 7 years ago, and my paychecks keep going down in the transcription field!.
About $125 in PA - total electric, about
Pretty happy here, bill runs about the same in winter and includes heat :)
Used to, but compared electric bills
I used to never turn my computer off. Then my grandchildren visited me for 3 wks. Because I did not want them playing on my computer (they had their own laptop), I kept mine off when I was not working. When the electric bill came it, it was almost $60 less, so from that point on, I began turning it off between the hours of 5 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. plus my days off (and I get more done around the house as well) -- continued with the same savings. Figured I can buy a new tower for $720 a year in savings.
I think those descriptions are for electric and gas (heat)...

Not internet.  Internet is different because it is not based off of square footage.  To me, that would sound like because my living room is larger than my office, I use the internet more in my living room, which is untrue.... Plus, I never use the internet in my bathroom or kitchen. 

I write off the percentage that I use it, that is how my tax guy said to.... I mostly use the internet for personal use about an hour a night and a couple hours on weekends.  Otherwise it is work only.  That is where I get the figure for 75% work, 25% pleasure use. 


Ditto, electric went from $120 to $205 in this nonstop heat!- nm
But, yes to all that you have and the room, electric, heat, just remember though
you have to keep the house for at least a year or two once you start claiming it, if you think you may move in the next year, don't take the write off, just on your text books, software, computer, that you can but not the room itself. See your CPA for further details as to why.
$256.00 for June electric bill in Calif.

Am curious if anyone's else is outrageously high.  Mine typically is $150-200 for summer months. 

I keep temp at 82 during day, 78 at night.  Temperatures here soar to 95-100 though.  But, I live alone and have gas hot water, gas stove.

Working at home has its pluses and minuses!  Leaving the air off for 8-10 hours a day while I was at the hospital working saved me a lot of cash in this utility bills.



I use an electric afghan, safer than a heater
Hi: I paid about $35 for an afghan-size warming blanket I think on Overstock.com. I just make a little semicircle of blankie and keep the foot pedal in there. To warm my hands, I use 2 gooseneck lamps from Target, they were $10 each, one on each side of my desk, amazing how much heat from a light bulb. Wise
I just bought a new electric can opener at Wally World

and, get this, it comes with a "Users Manual."

This is the el cheapo $6.74 can opener and I'm thinking "hmmm, am I missing something here?"

My take on this is that if you don't know how to plug in and use a $6.74 electric can opener, there is a very good chance that you probably can't read to start off with.

It's 4 pages!

HOW TO USE: (Page 3)

1.  Raise lever, place can under the guide bar and against the geared wheel (See DIagram A to identify parts)

2. Press down on lever to pierce lid of can (Daigram B). This automatically starts thye cutting action. the can opener will continue to cut until the lid is completely severed from the can.

3 Grasp the can, then raise the lever to release the can.

4.  Carefully slide the lid away from the magnet, using caution to avoid being injured by the sharp edge of the lid.

I'm sure they do this so some stupid bozo won't sue the company because they weren't instructed on proper use of the can opener.

Electric motor repairman. I'll never match his pay.
But the more you make the more you spend. 
The old clunkity clunk electric typewriter days

Way back when, I didn't even know it was "transcription."  I did some transcribing as a secretary at a clinic with 8-10 docs. Office manager showed me how to use "a tape player that you operate with a footpedal." (never heard the words "transcriber" or "transcription"). Only had a Dorland's Med. Dictionary and IBM Selectric. Wasn't until several years later at first actual medical transcription job, realized previously had already been doing medical transcription, "typing" the doctors' chart notes and letters (plus answering phones, sorting/distributing the doctors' mail & journals, bookkeeping/accounts payable, payroll, etc.) for ridiculously low file-clerk type pay for what was really an administrative assistant type job. 

You wanted a laugh though: One time, in a hospital transcription dept., me & the other ladies were in the breakroom, giggling about something in the newspaper, someone made a great joke about whatever the subject was, & we were laughing so hard, the security guard came running down the hall and into our breakroom to see what was going on (he thought he heard screaming!)  When he saw us all cracking up, he just shook his head, laughed, & told us to get back to work!

% of mortgage, water, electric, gas, trash pick-
I don't get it. Why do you just smile and tell
No offense, but we teach people how to treat us. Your idea of getting a sitter was a good one. After all, if it's just work he needs to do, he should be glad someone will be there to watch the kids. Of course, you know that's not the problem, but it's fun to make HIM admit to it, isn't it?

You've got your work cut out for you.
We all need to smile. sm
I just quit a job. From the first email, I could tell this person was not nice. I tried to make it work, but it didn't, so I'm moving on.

What I don't get is why the attitude? No one is so privileged in this business that they can afford to be nasty. The same way you come up may be the same way you go down, so smile along the way. It shows even in the emails. Smile! Makes the day go by more pleasantly.
Wow! I'm in North Central Florida. Last month's electric bill was $165. sm
I have electric everything and keep the thermostat set at 73. Some folks here with a different electric company have had bills triple to quadruple their normal. You may want to do some investigating.
deduct telephone, electric and portion of house payments.
Hope this helps!
I will let a smile be my umbrella when (sm)

more people get out and adopt a pet instead of just talking about it.  It is really a problem and the shooting of innocent dogs is sickening.

I just adopted one and did my part. 

Smile all the way to the bank!
Just smile and say "thank you"

I have 2 that make me smile - sm

One is obviously an older ESL gentleman and he always says, "Thank you kindly for typing."

The other is younger and he says, "Thanks for typing this up and have a great day."


I smile, say "I don't have children, thanks." nm

thanks for the smile!! Made by day. (nm)
Makes me smile
This is beside the point, but I have an Asian friend who still refers to herself as Oriental (we're middle aged and that's the term used when we were young). - It is so refreshing to hear her do that, as I think all this politically correct stuff has gotten out of hand. Yes, some terms are just plain rude or cruel, but some of that stuff is just a big deal about nothing. I always smile when she calls herself Oriental. :)