Changing Technology, Changing Curriculum: Medical Transcription

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Sep 12, 2013, 9:00 a.m.

The proliferation of Electronic Healthcare Records or Electronic Medical Records (EMR) brings with it the potential to dramatically improve the cost and quality of healthcare as well as a new challenge ensuring patient records are accurately entered and digitized.

Medical transcription, an online program at GateWay Community College, has been preparing professionals to assist with the transcription of medical records in order to be entered into an EMR. Given changes pushed by the Affordable Care Act as well as a need to reduce cost, many clinicians have begun using voice recognition software to aid in the transcription process and GateWay quickly to adapted its curriculum to address the change.

“Medical transcription is a changing field,” says Charlene Thiessen, program director for the Medical Transcription program. “As doctors begin implementing VR software, the role of the medical transcriptionist is to become an editor of what comes out of that system to ensure accuracy.”

In order to adapt to this changing environment and better prepare students, Speech Recognition Editing (MTR225) was added to the curriculum for Fall 2013. The class provides an overview of speech recognition programs as well as the effects of speech recognition on productivity and quality.  

Adapting to change has been deeply rooted in the Medical Transcription program -- early on it moved classes online and now is able to offer the entire program online.

“The way in which students will work in the field lends itself perfectly for the training to be completed online,” says Thiessen. “Students can take classes online, complete the program and then work from home as they only need a computer and Internet connection to work.”

Due to the mobility that this degree provides, those seeking to work online will find great benefits in becoming healthcare documentation specialists, the new term that has been coined for medical transcribers.

The field continues to grow as more and more doctors offices move toward EMR and electronic patient records.

The Medical Transcription program received approval from the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI). The AHDI approval is equivalent to a program receiving accreditation. As an approved program, GateWay will be listed on AHDI's Website as an approved school.

As an approved school, GateWay is also eligible to participate in the Military Spouse Initiative, which is something AHDI has worked with the Department of Defense to offer military spouses a chance to learn a career that they can take with them no matter where they get posted.