In the last quarter of 2007, a research team at the Bentley College (Waltham, MA) implemented a new study to help understand the role of medical transcription within in the healthcare industry. The preliminary results of the 2007 Survey of Medical Transcriptionists were shared at the AHDI/MTIA Advocacy Summit in May 2008. The survey’s results are based on 3809 generated responses from an online survey created by the Bentley College research team in conjunction with representatives from the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI).
PRN Funding wanted to share a few of the study’s preliminary findings:
1.Much like the rest of the workforce, medical transcriptionists (MTs) are aging quickly and recruiting younger replacements is a real concern.
2. Medical transcription is a predominately female profession in the United States. Globally, however, there is a higher representation of men working in the field.
3. 41 percent of the survey respondents never completed college, but MTs have a strong desire to continue learning, especially when it comes to medical subject matter. (It’s important to note here that the majority of older MTs entered the workforce before medical transcription training programs existed.)
4. One of the continued challenges to attracting new medical transcriptionists to the profession is the inability to make sustainable wages.
5. One of the primary challenges for MTs is how they are compensated, which is usually per production unit or “per line.” With the introduction of speech-recognition technology, more medical transcriptionists are being paid as “editors,” which decreases their per unit pay because it’s expected that “reading” is easier than “typing.”
6. Medical transcriptionists work in a number of different environments. The largest percentage of MTs (39.3 percent) work for a healthcare institution. However, 54.1 percent work in association with a Medical Transcription Service Owner (MTSO)-24.7 percent as independent contractors, 6.1 percent as medical transcription service owners, and 24 percent as an employee of an MTSO.
7. Regardless of who they work for, the majority of medical transcriptionists work from home. This type of situation presents challenges in terms of how to create and maintain an effective workforce.
8. Most medical transcriptionists (58.9 percent of the survey respondents) transcribe for multiple doctors from multiple hospitals and/or practices. Due to the lack of standardized reporting formats, MTs must learn a wide range of document styles and protocols.