Wanted: Experienced Medical Transcriptionists
Pat Forbis, CMT
(Author’s note: The American Association for Medical Transcription’s [AAMT] annual meeting was held recently in Kansas City, MO. The exhibit hall was, as always, impressive. However, there was a noticeable increase in companies and institutions that were there for the specific purpose of recruiting experienced medical transcriptionists.)
Is there a shortage of medical transcriptionists (MTs)? Experienced ones, that is? The kind described as a Level 3 in the recently released Hay Study? You bet your bippy there is, and the shortage is getting greater with every dictated report, every insurer’s requirement for additional patient information and every new resident that has discovered the melodious tones of his/her voice as it emits from a recording device.
What’s a desperate employer to do?
While Level 1 MTs can be found without too much effort, they are not ready to take on the complicated dictation that comes from a sophisticated surgical case or a multilingual physician group.
Level 2 MTs are more difficult to recruit, and they are not as prepared to jump through all the dictation and transcription hoops. Still searching, they are generally limited in vocabularies and often unable to meet the expectations of demanding clients.
Level 3 MTs are at the top of every employer’s wish list, and this is the level MT that the recruiters actively pursue. But employers are feeling frustrated by the elusive Level 3. Where are they? Why aren’t they as easy to find as they once were?
Level 3 MTs recognize that the age-old law of supply and demand has landed squarely in their favor, and they are beginning to give careful thought to their employment options. No longer tethered to one or two local employers, or to companies that build their businesses in an electronic sweatshop, Level 3 MTs are free to explore worldwide opportunities–and the more experience the MT has, the greater the number of opportunities they have.
That’s not to imply that Level 3 MTs are no longer available, but it does mean that Level 3s are getting choosier about selecting their employer. Let’s just say that they are no longer willing to “settle.”
So what might the experienced 1999 Level 3 MT look for when considering employment options?
First and foremost, Level 3s expect to have respect–respect for their knowledge, respect for their profession, respect for their certified medical transcriptionist (CMT) credential and respect as individuals.
Savvy Level 3s will look for honest and fair compensation, both monetary and in benefit packages. They will insist on a quality assurance program that assists them with quality issues, not one that penalizes them.
An employer that is in step with evolving technology will get more than a passing glance; MTs know that stagnant technology leads to dead-end positions or dissatisfied clients.
Level 3 transcriptionists have made a lifelong commitment to their continuing education, and the employer who acknowledges and supports those efforts will certainly be considered a front-runner when it’s time to make a selection. Inservices and support for educational meetings and other opportunities are important and can make the difference in the MT’s selection.
Environmental safety is very important to Level 3 MTs because they consider themselves to be engaged in a career that provides professional and personal satisfaction, not just a job that provides a paycheck. Therefore, maintaining good health is an important factor, and they expect their employer to agree.
Professional MTs want to work for employers that respect the future generation of MTs. The employer who provides student externship opportunities will get the attention of the new-age job seeker.
MTs with Level 3 talent need access to resources. Some come into a position with a personal reference library, but others expect employers to provide what is necessary to do the work required of them. And these days, access to the Internet’s search engines is included in the list of “must have” resources for MTs.
There is no doubt that the search for Level 3 transcriptionists is challenging. It should come as no surprise that finding Level 3 MTs is not likely to get easier as we move toward the electronic patient record and the changes it will bring to the industry. Level 3s are masters of their profession who recognize their value.
* Watch for Part II, Compensation Study for Medical Transcriptionists, of the soon-to-be-released Hay Study in which compensation differences of the three levels of MTs are identified.
Pat Forbis is associate executive director for professional practices, AAMT, Modesto, CA.
HOW TO REACH AAMT
If you’d like more information about the American Association for Medical Transcription (AAMT) or have questions relating to the field of medical transcription, please contact the association directly at:
P.O. Box 576187
Modesto, CA 95357-6187
phone: (209) 551-0883
fax: (209) 551-9317
web site: www.aamt.org/aamt