Will wonders never cease? Here we are moaning, groaning and carrying on about the state of our vocation. I have talked to numerous people who have said they were going back to school. For what, I am not quite sure. Even at this point in my life, I'm not sure what I want to be when I grow up. But I will guarantee one thing: I will not be going to medical school to become a doctor. Nor will I even "play one on the radio."
OK, now for the rest of the story. I just read an article where the central core was about the medical transcription industry in India and how it is booming. It goes so far as to quote the head of the Indian Medical Transcription Industry Association (IMTIA), who doubles at night as the head of a large offshore transcription company, as stating that their employee base in India will grow five-fold in the next 5 years. Needless to say, IMTIA has not mentioned anything about a compliance and/or best practices program, but when it comes to hiring everybody and their brother to be an MT, they are ready to go.
The article went on to explain that they are increasing the hiring of doctors - actual MDs -- and students in medical school as it offers them "lucrative remunerations and career options besides keeping them updated with the latest developments taking place in the field."
OK, now I am REALLY not going to medical school. Any MTs out there who feel they are getting paid better than a doctor? Didn't think so.
But maybe medical school in India is different than it is here. Why would someone spend the immense amount of time and money to get those initials to then only be paid as a middle class clerical worker? I know, different topic, different day.
Now don't get me wrong. I worked with a physician turned MT once. She was incredible. Definitely knew her stuff and could type like Speedy Gonzalez after a six-pack of Mountain Dew. But unfortunately, she was not the best bedside person, nor very proficient at the practice management side of life. She wanted to be at home and only surface for the necessities. And I know there are other physicians that have made vocational changes for one reason or another. But I seriously doubt any physician became an MT because they wanted to make the big money.
However, something must be happening because companies are creating training courses for doctors to become transcriptionists in India. I know, I know. We are all thinking it. Here is the deal. It's not the medical terminology or jargon that the IMTIA needs to worry about, but the common jargon, phrases, names, places, etc. that we as U.S.- based MTs are inherently blessed with knowing and understanding. We are all pretty sharp people. We pick up drugs and procedures pretty quickly as they change. And heck, we have lists of reference materials. How many dictionaries are on your PC? I think if I put one more expander on mine I will be able to say a word out loud and the progress note should come up on the screen. But how is someone in Pune, India, going to know that the referring documentation needs to go to the Kuykendahl address when the physician says ker-ken-doll. Now that note is guaranteed to go back to the hospital with a blank in that dictation. That MD degree that the QA person offshore received never touched upon U.S. street names.
But reading this article led me to formulate a plan by which to better my working experience. I have a physician who thinks the best time of day to dictate is when the top is down on his convertible, while eating dinner and yelling at all the idiot drivers around him. And obviously, he thinks I am a music buff as the stereo is always blasting loud enough for me to sing along (which only truly becomes a problem when the GoGos are played).
So my plan is to convince him that he needs to join one of these training courses in India. I will use the propaganda issued by the IMTIA as my documentation. Of course, I am having a hard time believing that he will buy into this one. I have a gut feeling I will be stuck with him for a very long time. And truth be told, I'd probably miss griping about him anyway.
Marisa Read is a medical transcriptionist with TransTech Medical Solutions.