Many practicing and aspiring medical transcriptionists inquire about the potential for career advancement to in the MT industry. This is not only a valid question, but also a great goal. There are plenty of opportunities for advancement in this rapidly growing industry. Good transcription managers are in short supply. The reality is that many practitioners would rather retain the flexibility of being their own boss and doing what they enjoy doing on a production basis. As a result, healthcare providers and MT services often have difficulty attracting qualified transcriptionists to management level roles. Accepting a management level role means giving up a lot of autonomy and flexibility and assuming more responsibility. Many practitioners are reluctant to make this tradeoff.
However, there are many people who thrive on the challenges of working in a faster paced environment and in assuming higher levels of authority and responsibility within an organization. They see the benefits of advancing their career and increasing their long term income potential as well as earning retirement benefits. A medical transcription management position can provide continued upward career mobility and result in a challenging and rewarding career.
There are several options available for anyone considering a career in MT management. The interesting thing to note is that the options continue to grow as technology developments transform the industry.
Manager of Quality Assurance (QA)
A manager of QA does just what the title implies. He or she reviews the transcribed documents that come in from home based transcriptionists; evaluates them against a set of quality criteria; and edits them to ensure they meet the quality standards prescribed by the healthcare provider. QA experts look for errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar – often using sophisticated tools to assist them in this effort. They also look for important errors in the documents that could lead to misinterpretations of the data by a physician or other health care provider. The QA manager is highly regarded and is integral to the optimal flow of any transcription operation.
Medical Transcription Supervisor
Another important manager is the Medical Transcription Supervisor. MT Supervisors work either for a hospital or an outsourced service provider. The role of the supervisor is to manage a team of transcription professionals. The supervisor is responsible for scheduling, hiring, firing, evaluating, and managing all final reports and workflows and ensuring compliance with turnaround requirements. The supervisor also ensures that all associates are equipped with a full complement of equipment and resources to perform their jobs as efficiently as possible. The transcription supervisor facilitates the development of the MT staff by working with HR and training departments to see that resources are consistently aligned with peak workloads and that all specialty areas are properly staffed to meet turnaround requirements. The supervisor generally reports to a Medical Records Director of a hospital or possibly a director or vice president of a transcription service provider. A supervisor often possesses a CMT (certified medical transcriptionist) credential from an certifying organization such as AHDI(Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity).
Medical Transcription Trainer
Another important management function is that of medical transcription trainer. MT trainers will train transcriptionists on new account types and specialty areas. Account specific information will vary from client to client and each practitioner will require training on the account specifics, turnaround requirements, and special instructions relating to each account they service. A trainer will be responsible for developing the talent pool of the organization’s staff and will work closely with the MT supervisor to ensure that the staff is optimally deployed for maximum effectiveness in meeting the production needs of the department or organization. Cross training is also an essential function of the trainer. It is imperative that all members of a staff are capable of shifting their focus at a moment’s notice to accommodate an urgent need resulting from either a new client startup or the absence of one or more key transcriptionists. A trainer may also monitor and recommend continuing education training opportunities to associates throughout the year.
Medical Transcription Recruiter
The medical transcription recruiter is increasingly one of the most important managers in an organization. Their job is to continually develop and replenish the base of talent within an organization. The recruiter is constantly searching the country for qualified transcriptionists to add to department or company staff. Recruiters run ads, conduct interviews, and work with other managers to forecast future hiring needs. They are also responsible for identifying opportunities to increase retention among existing associates.
Medical Records Director
The Medical Records Director is typically a credentialed medical records specialist who oversees all aspects of the medical record production and archiving process. The director will typically manage all transcription and coding supervisors and sometimes the billing functions of a healthcare organization. A director will work with the MT supervisor to ensure that all documents are transcribed in accordance with contract requirements and that records are made available in a timely and professional manner to the healthcare professionals that need them. The secure electronic storage and delivery of records is a key function of the director. This individual will need to continually search out best practices and evaluate new and innovative technologies to ensure that the department operates at peak productive capacity. The health and well being of thousands of patients depends on the quality production and timely dissemination of health record information. The director is also responsible to ensure that all processes, documentation, workflows, relationships, and systems are HIPAA compliant. A director may possess one or more credentials or designations from a certifying organization such as AHDI, AHIMA, or AAPC. Credentials such as RHIA, RHIT, CCS, CPC, and CMT demonstrate a long term commitment to the profession and are evidence of the expertise developed by the director over the years.
Voice Recognition Medical Transcription Specialist
The relatively recent emergence of voice recognition specialists and supervisors is a good example of how new career opportunities are created in response to significant technology advancements in the industry. These are position that were not even on the radar screen a decade ago. As voice recognition technology gains a foothold in the industry, more and more of the MT workflow is going to be processed through a speech recognition engine. This will in no way eliminate the need for transcription, but this technology will transform the role of a growing subset of the workforce in the coming years. An increasing number of MT’s will use a speech recognition processed document as a starting point for their transcription activities. Speech recognition produced documents generally require significant editing. This editing process will be performed by practitioners whose role will change from traditional transcriptionist to medical language editor. The technology behind voice recognition processing is sufficiently different from the traditional process that voice recognition supervisors may also be required to manage these new activities.