I believe the benefits of doing home medical transcription far outweigh the challenges. You will, however, encounter challenges. If you know them and learn to deal with them ahead of time, being a home Medical Transcriptionist can be a Godsend. Here are some of the lessons I learned.
1) Perhaps the most important thing you need to do is set boundaries. For some reason, my loved ones thought I could make my own schedule, go out anytime, have friends over anytime. Ridiculous! Working from home still means you’re working! In fact, it sometimes means you have to work more in order to meet deadlines. Make yourself a work area, and make it clear to family and friends that when you’re in your work space, you’ll stop only for an emergency. One mom I knew used to tell her kids when they interrupted her work, “Someone better be bleeding or there better be a bone sticking out!” (Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration – but you get the point.)
2) If you’re just starting out as a home MT, don’t get too frustrated by dictators you don’t understand. Virtually every dictator, whether a doctor, a nurse, a social worker, etc., has previous reports they’ve dictated. Refer to these reports and you should be able to figure out the mumbled parts. Previous reports are vital to your success.
3) Most MTs these days work for pay-by-production. This means you don’t make a set wage. You’re paid by what you produce, either by the line or by the report. If you’re planning on becoming a home MT, try to first save a little money as a cushion for the days in the beginning when you might not be paid as much. As you get better at it – and as you learn to understand your dictators – your pay will go up and your need for that cushion will go down.
4) If possible, when you start a new MT job, find out if you’ll have specific accounts, which means you’ll work mostly with the same dictators all the time. If you’re just thrown into a pool where you’re listening to different dictators all the time, you’ll have a much harder time getting used to, and figuring out, what each one is saying.
5) At least in the beginning, try to stay off the online MT forums. Most of what is conveyed on these forums is negative. Yes, there’s a time, a place, and even a good reason for venting. But you don’t need this right now. You need to remain positive.
There are a lot of good reasons for getting into medical transcription – and maybe even more for working from home. One of my reasons was to care for my ill mother. If I’d known a few of the challenges I’ve mentioned here – and how to deal with them beforehand – my life would have been much easier.