Looking for Medical Transcriptionists?

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Looking for Medical Transcriptionists?

Pat Forbis, CMT

Are you one of the employers currently searching for qualified medical transcriptionists? If so, you may take PAT FORBIS some comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your pursuit of that oh-so-hard-to-find individual. The manner in which you recruit and retain medical transcriptionists may make a significant difference in the outcome of your efforts.

Consider the following.

Recruiting Tips

The advertisement: Your ad reveals a lot about your medical transcription savvy. A qualified medical transcriptionist will more than likely turn away from an ad that seeks a “transcriber” or those that require an individual to “type 70 correct words per minute.”

These are dead giveaways that the employer has yet to understand that a transcriber is a piece of equipment used by nedical transcriptionists, and that although a medical transcriptionist must command a keyboard, it is certainly not a typing test that determines the qualifications of a medical transcriptionist.

An ad that attracts attention will, of course, use the correct occupational title: medical transcriptionist. It will feature the benefits of the work environment. Career-minded transcriptionists look for such things as insurance packages, paid vacation, holiday time, sick leave, flex time, retirement packages, shift differential, support for education, opportunity for growth…the employment basics that other work environments offer. Your ad may also attract more attention if you state that a certified medical transcriptionist (CMT) is preferred and that there is a differential paid for the credential.

The interview: An immediate turn-off for most qualified medical transcriptionists is to be asked, “How fast do you type?” The transcriptionist you are probably looking for will eagerly share the experience she/he has had in the various specialty areas, how well they command the English language and how well they adapt to English-as-a-second-language originators. You will want to know if they seek continuing education and how well they maintain an up-to-date reference library.

Are they certified, and if not, do they intend to become certi-fied?

If an individual claims to be certified, ask to see the card from the Medical Transcription Certification Program (MTCP) that verifies current certification status. Every certified medical transcriptionist receives such a card. If the card is not available, you need only make a quick call to MTCP at the American Association for Medical Transcription (AAMT) for verification (209-551-0883). MTCP is the only medical transcriptionist credentialing body. A certificate of completion from a medical transcription program should not be confused with the certification credential. And do not assume that the CMT credential assures that an individual will meet your employment needs. Always do a thorough interview and check references.

Provide a clear explanation of what and how you intend to pay the medical transcriptionist for his/her services. It is also important for the transcriptionist to understand what you ex- pect in terms of productivity. Misunderstandings about these issues often lead to harsh words and an early parting of the ways.

The test: If you administer an employment test, be sure that it appropriately reflects the work the individual will be required to do. A reasonable completion time should be provided. When checking the test results, consider how well the individual researched the challenges they encountered. And by all means, do not consider blanks to be errors! Too many blanks, however, should serve as a red flag that the individual may not be qualified to perform what you expect.

Retention Tips

A thorough orientation is a firm step in the right direction. In order for employees to understand management’s philosophy, policies and procedures, adequate time should be given to introductory education. If it is not possible to teach individuals in a traditional one-on-one manner, consider routinely sending electronic or faxed newsletters, memos and faxes.

Be sure that all forms required by various governmental agencies are completed and submitted in a timely manner.

Take the time to review company policies and offer the medical transcriptionist the opportunity to ask questions.

Talk in depth about quality assurance and productivity expectations. Provide telephone numbers for technical and terminology support.

Make routine performance evaluations a priority. Employees need to know if you are satisfied with their work. It is also important to provide an opportunity for them to express concerns and ask questions.

If your employees work in their homes, consider bringing them together now and then. Most employers with home-based medical transcriptionists believe this is a morale-booster as well as a way to provide continuing education and networking.

Publicly acknowledge employees who stay with you for a long period of time. If you have an annual Medical Transcription Week celebration or a holiday get-together, present them with a plaque or a gift.

Motivate your medical transcriptionists with encouragement. Demonstrate that you care about their education and their professional status by supporting their endeavors to move up the career ladder.

Urge them to care for themselves in a way that will prevent work-related injuries.

Although a paycheck is important to anyone who is employed, most medical transcriptionists will tell you that the secret to retaining them is respect…respect for them as individuals and for their knowledge and skills. There are those who believe qualified medical transcriptionists are an endangered species. If that is so, careful recruitment and retention techniques may assure that your business or department will be a step ahead in attracting and keeping the medical transcriptionists you need. *

Pat Forbis is the associate executive director of the American Association for Medical Transcription (AAMT), located in Modesto, CA.

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