Have you ever wondered about the work that went in to your medical chart? Most of us don't but that information is crucial to our health care. Here's more on the folks who play an intricate part in that chart because we are celebrating and applauding National Medical Transcriptionist Week.
Kim Larson is one of 30 medical transcriptionists at Avera McKennan. There are typically 20 transcriptionists on duty at a time and someone is always on the clock. Kim plays a vital role in making sure everything your doctor checked and the tests taken are documented correctly.
Kim says, "The physician dictates in a phone system that is throughout the hospital. The transcriptionist listens to the voice file and types it into a document form and then we send it off electronically so it becomes part of your medical record. I don't think a lot of people know we exist because if they watch TV shows like ER they never show the doctor dictating anything that's why I think it's good for people to know we do exist."
Kim is also a speech editor, trained in the speech recognition program. It's a fairly new computer software tool that only certain physicians who speak clearly can use. Their dictation comes up automatically on Kim's screen as a draft and then she goes to work on it.
She says, "There's words that didn't get recognized or wrong words in there that we have to fix. We still have to listen to what the doctor said but it's a time saver for us."
One of the advantages of being a medical transcriptionist is you can work from home if you are properly trained (Avera McKennan has strict guidelines and qualifications). Sharla Scholl has been with Avera McKennan for 17 years. For 5 of those years, she's been doing her job from the comforts of her home.
Sharla says, "I love the flexibility, there's no traffic, I can work in any kind of attire. I can wear what I want and don't have to wear makeup to look presentable. There are lots of pluses."
The only thing Sharla had to provide is Internet access and years of experience. Other wise she has the same equipment here that the transcriptionists have at the hospital. And like her colleagues, accuracy is her middle name.
Sharla says, "We are monitored for accuracy. We are periodically checked. We have to maintain a certain percentage of accuracy or we don't get to keep our job. They can also tell when we are on the computer working. I'm scheduled for 32 hours a week but also put in 4-6 hours with the Orthopedic Institute transcribing for the therapy department. It's a great job."
Sharla says most transcriptionists have a "leave me alone and let me work" mentality that's why they are so good doing this job at home. And even though you probably aren't feeling all that great when you go to the doctor, at least you can feel good that your chart is in good hands.
Avera McKennan prides itself on only hiring people with an associates degree in medical transcribing. Around here, Mitchell Technical Institute and Killian Community College offer that program.