I know……I’ve been ‘MIA’ for quite a while. Busy trying to figure out where I ‘fit’ in life right now. There’s been a love/hate relationship going on with the life of being a medical transcriptionist – and is affecting a LOT of us across the board…..including myself. I have two remote transcription jobs – have had these two for over 2 years; one as an independent contractor status and one as an employee status and barely can pay the bills. Oh, did I mention that one of the 2 jobs I have has gone to EMR/point and click – whatever new technological term you wanna call it? Yep, that means working as an independent contractor medical transcriptionist and the above scenario happens, there is no more work to be transcribed for that company. BAM! It’s gone with no warning. Over the past 7-8 years, this is the third time I’ve been transcribing for a company where they have lost an account for one reason or another. We may be left with the option to transcribe clinic notes – which, on a good day you may make minimum wage or up. WOW!! What a difference over the last approximately 10 years or so from making $25/hour downwards to making a bit over minimum wage!!
Don’t get me wrong. The overall United States patient medical record policy/standards do need an overhaul and I do feel we need to get away from the antiquated paper charting of patients medical records. The US population is ever increasing, so privacy policies and technological advances do need to be put in place, but in my opinion, it’s costing more money by having software that now technicians are finding out are not compatible or do not work in these facilities, than keeping transcriptionists who get the job done the first time around!
Many people say to me (as well as to other remote transcriptionists) “oh, it must be nice being able to work from home. I envy you.” But yet earlier this week, I went on a job interview to work outside of the home and while interviewing with the 3-panel interviewers, they stated that they are “concerned because I’ve been working at home so long – will I be able to handle working in-house”? REALLY? This same question was asked to another fellow transcriptionist in an interview at a totally different facility. Folks – we are not people who’ve been incarcerated! We’re not in a bubble! We do not live in primitive times just because we work at home! If anything, we should be considered very, VERY reliable candidates to be working for your company because we ARE at home producing quality patient medical record reports with very little supervision, but we DO have supervision. We DO have someone we have to answer to. Some of us DO clock in and out like a standard 8-5 job as an employee status. We DO communicate with the outside world!
Another trend I’m seeing, in particular with IC medical transcriptionists is that a lot of these companies are requiring you to have a business license. Yep, I said it – a business license (which is not cheap) to work in your own little space in your own home, but yet they will offer slave pay – and act as though you’re getting a great deal!
I LOVE what I do. To me, it’s a never-ending learning arena – with new diseases, new drugs, deciphering the medical terms, etc, but I HATE what it has become. Both IC and employee status transcription companies try and lure you in, but once you’ve started working with them, either there’s suddenly ‘no more work’ or the work load is low (that was just a ploy to get you in and clean up their backlog!) Other companies saturate you with work but want to pay you slave labor pay or have so many unnecessary rules for account specifics that it ultimately reduces your productivity to where it’s nearly impossible to make a decent living by being paid on production.
At 55 years of age, I find it very insulting, very degrading and downright mean that myself and ALL my fellow transcriptionists who’ve worked so hard over the many years, learned a valuable skill that not any Joe blow can walk off the street and go in and accomplish, can offer quality patient care when it comes to the patient’s medical record and for us to be tossed out like dirty trash is unacceptable. Every time I have a doctors visit somewhere and they ask what I do, even THEY say themselves, “I commend you for what you do in your job because I couldn’t do it.” Now THAT right there really is saying something!
I’ve never been a quitter and am not about to give up now. There are some out here that are trying to fight this battle to help regain the respect we deserve and set some type of standards for our quiet, unspoken-word ‘world’ of medical transcription, so I say thank you to those trailblazing for the many transcriptionists still out there! Though I may have some things going on personally in trying to figure out what’s next in my life at this point, I will continue to work and I will continue blogging – not as often as I would like – but I will continue to share with you words and other things I’ve shared here to help someone empower their health because you guys are what keep me going!