III. About ZenTranscription.com

ZenTranscription.com is about doing medical transcription smarter, not harder.   For a good background on medical transcription (and voice or speech recognition), please go to Wikipedia.  I believe it has a more objective and enlightening assessment of the process than any other site I have seen on the internet.

I began doing medical transcription in 1980,  after taking a medical assisting and transcription program at a Northern California community college.  I had a financial aid (College Work Study) job grading fellow students’ medical terminology tests while I was taking classes.  As soon as I graduated, I worked for a local medical transcription service typing dictation for orthopedic doctors’ Workers’ Compensation independent medical examinations and insurance company medical-legal reports.  I then began working for San Francisco hospitals (San Francisco General Hospital, University of California at San Francisco) and Northern California Kaiser Permanente Hospitals.

While working at these hospitals, I observed the development of outsourcing of transcription and ended up working for the large nationwide medical transcription services.  This is similar to temporary secretaries, word processors and file clerks who are employment agency employees and sent to work offsite at offices in large businesses.  It was striking to me that the medical transcription service employees (just as temporary agency employees) are given VERY LITTLE in support and are let to “sink or swim”.

MTSO transcriptionists may be given lists of doctors’ names and neighboring local hospitals, but in working for the largest medical transcription services in the United States, I have not received the most important information:  libraries of indexed and easily retrievable standard/typical reports for each doctor, computer macros that are already installed in the word processor and instructions provided for their use, macros which call up new documents, spell check, print and save reports, as well as abbreviations and references already built into the agency’s word processing platform.

The ironic thing about this arrangement is that the outsourced work is done by the service’s transcriptionists in the ultra-efficient manner that should be done at the hospital.  However, these systems are usually not known by the service’s supervisors and are definitely not shared with the agency’s coworkers, because the transcriber’s work methods create job security, better working conditions and more income per hour, being paid on a production basis.

I believe there is a reason this is not done:  the “blood, sweat and tears” that the agency’s transcriptionist endures in creating their work methods/systems from scratch motivate the employee to stay at the same job, even if working conditions are insufferable.  To leave and start at a different service means a transcriptionist is going to spend hours of uncompensated time developing their new procedures and work methods, as well as making less per hour at the new job for weeks and/or months until they gradually become faster and more productive.

I have worked both on-site at hospitals and remotely for medical transcription services and had to develop my own methods of typing reports as quickly and accurately as possible.  I can help hospitals implement these systems in their own medical records departments, eliminate the middleman and reduce their transcription expense.

Medical transcriptionists have used a variety of keyboarding shortcuts, also called auto-complete or word expanders  (Autocorrect or Autotext in Microsoft Word, for example), which allows typing abbreviations that are instantly transformed into the full word or term.  The lists of these short and long forms are called glossaries.

A bottleneck can occur when so many abbreviations are accumulated that it is too time consuming to manually create and edit abbreviations in the middle of producing typed reports.   ZenTranscription has developed a system of macros (more than 150) that can QUICKLY make those changes, allowing transcribers to spend their time generating income rather than maintaining their glossaries.   See Appendix, Abbreviate Everything System.

In addition, medical transcriptionists often say they would use more abbreviations, but they have trouble remembering them.  ZenTranscription has developed an EASY TO USE system that relies upon a simple formula, not memorization, for the creation of  the abbreviations, and believes this is so powerful that virtually EVERY (in other words millions) medical and English words and phrases can be maintained by this system.  (This capability requires the use of the FABULOUS word expander program InstantText7.)  See the Appendix, Exhibit

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