Posted by Carl Williams Dictation Field Expert on October 19, 2014
I have read 20 or more how to start a medical transcription business from home and most of them are crap! If you want the real scoop on making money not start businesses read below.
Over the past 10 years or so, starting your own medical transcription business was very expensive and labor intensive. Well, we are here to report that it has come down in price and it's now within your grasp, if you read this information carefully. So first things first, you're not trained formally as a medical transcriptionist. I'm going to outline a really great on campus and at home course you can take to get up to speed on medical terms ICD10 codes and Hipaa requirements.
The first educational course is a highly recommended online instructional offered designed by Cengage called the Hillcrest Medical Center: Beginning Medical Transcription, 7th Edition In this course you get real hand on instructions and real dictation to transcribe. The second course we would recommend to you is the rctc.edu medical transcription course. Graduating from this college will give you a great chance of landing a career very quickly.
So now you are trained and ready to get out there and round up a doctor or group of physicians and start transcribing their dictation files. Wait, there's a problem. How are you going to get the dictation files or analog from them, to you. Let's break it down into easy to understand platforms. The first choice in years past was the telephone or also known as phone dictation systems. The pro of this type of system, was the doctors called you from their office and dictated over the phone line. Well it has two huge cons, it's expensive to have someone on your line all day, and the systems cost around $5000 or more. You could always rent time on a call in dictation network reseller, but then again you are like a serf working the kings field. Not a great option in the world of the Internet Information Age. So I wouldn't recommend telephone dictation systems to you if you were my friend.
The second dictation platform was the worst choice of all, analog dictation recorders. You know the mix tapes we all used to make for our friends. Well between the breaking of tapes, over use of recordings over and over again till you can hear multiples of dictation in the background, made you crazy and that's just the beginning. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. So the pros, the doctors familiar with it, the con is it's hugely expensive for you in gas to go pick up the analogs, not to mention the transcriber which now cost around $600. Enough said, stay out of that mine field.
The third platform for receiving dictation in your home medical transcription business is getting a job onsite at a physician's office or hospital. Not great for your independence, but it's a great pro if can develop personal relationships with the skilled doctors. Now we are talking, why would I ever mention this idea to you, it goes against everything you wanted as a medical transcriptionist, freedom work at home no rules, no man over you. Well here is the secret, the meat and potatoes that no one else will tell you. Those highly skilled doctors or surgeons just don't work at the hospitals, they have private practices where all the lucrative income is generated. I mean cash and a lots of it. These are highly educated, no time to waste professionals. If you ingratiate yourself with them and provide them with the personal touches, like corrections to keep them out of trouble and quick transcripts, you are going to be able to cherry-pick their private practice dictation/transcription work up and you will be set. I can't tell you how many successful transcription companies started this way, countless. Here's a little secret, you can get rid of the doctors who don't pay well and give you headaches. Once you have enough aces in your pocket you are ready to go solo at home.
Now this leads us to the last 4th platform and the newest dictation transcription technology, digital dictation recorders. Memorize those three little words, because in the medical transcription business this is your pot of gold along with a great dictation equipment supplier like Martel.
Transcription Software traditionally refers to software which allows you to utilize a USB foot pedal to control a playback software, which controls play, pause, rewind and fast forward of the recording.
The technical information about the digital products in the dictation industry is enough you make you go insane, so let's go slow(dictation basics for dummies). So here is the over view the dictation transcription pipeline. There are four main components, not three but four. The first is the doctors recording equipment. Now there are allot of digital voice recorders on the market. I mean allot. 97% are consumer junk recorders that will make it difficult on you and your physicians. These 4 basics of dictation/transcription applies to lawyers, insurance agents, authors/journalist or any other professional who dictates for a living. The inexpensive voice recorders say from $50 to $200 are missing some key features that you both will need to sleep at night and turn a profit for your business.
Let's break it down, what's missing is how to make a profit without spending too much money. To start out with, cue and review, aka rewind and record over mistakes. For example, if I have dictated one hour of dictation and I messed up on the last name I can just rewind to last name and correct it, on the inexpensive digital recorders you have to start at the beginning and fast forward to the point and then go through a bunch of buttons and still you won't be able to record over your mistake. Next is sound quality, the cheap units sound like your in a wind tunnel, and that makes the transcription work much more difficult. That there is the difference between having a doctor love you or hate you. Below is the complete list a professional dictation recorders that have the cue and review and insert/overwrite built into them along with the slide control to rewind and record.
Dictation recorders with full insert, overwrite, and review on the fly while making the dictation: Olympus DS-7000, Olympus DS-3500, Olympus DS-2500, Philips DPM-8000, Philips Elite Platinum, Philips DPM-6000. Okay so this covers the recording equipment that the physicians are going to use. Martel has special program for medical transcription companies who need lots of dictation recorders in bulk.
The last key to a successful medical transcription business is getting the dictation files from the doctor's office to your home office without carbon emissions. It may sound funny, but it's going to save you money, time and headaches, having a dictation recorder that has built-in emailing functions from the recorder to the Internet without anyone touching the recorder. Plus you're saving the planet in the process. All while taking full advantage of the internet's technology, Digital dictation management software and cutting costs.
So what's automatic email dictation files? It's the key to turning a profit and picking up new doctors time and time again, without physically having to be on site. So in the professional digital dictation software(ODMS) you will find the ability to auto email once a recorder is docked or connected to a USB cable for recharging the battery. This will allow the files to be moved off the digital recorder and placed in a separate folder on the PC. In the doctor's office, once the file is downloaded by the doctor recharging the recorder, the dictation software will pull up your email program and send you a copy of the dictation audio file. Now you can also use dropbox or Google drive if you're an advanced user. You can even order an FTP file transfer protocol program to move files back-and-forth automatically, but if you're a beginner I would only recommend you use the automatic emailing with a file service such as Gmail which has 256 bit encryption. If you are in the office you can also switch the cards out of the recorder like cassette tapes.
Now you've got the information you need to start a successful medical transcription business. Get out there and make some cash!