-- A Few Words of Caution to EPs
- A Brief Overview,
you should also consider the following points of caution.
by Cynthia Ann
Through my affiliation
with the MT site on AOL, I do much online mentoring with MT hopefuls.
I would like to offer the following words of caution that I believe
EPs should be aware of before moving forward
with this home career field.
There are four
additional areas of concern to those of us currently working
in the field. One is the advent of voice recognition (commonly
called VR) to the technology arena. While the current consensus
among online MT's appears to be that the impact won't be felt
for some years, there is definitely the possibility that at some
point our jobs will change from "transcriptionist"
to "editor." Because of the great deal of correction
and interpretation that we do (in addition to the true translation
of dictation by foreign medical providers), none of us feel that
VR will ever completely replace our function, although most of
us acknowledge that there will eventually be some type of significant
impact on our profession. It is certainly prudent for all MT's,
newcomers as well as experienced, to keep up to date with technological
advances as they appear on the market.
The second area
is also critical, and often doesn't even occur to many people
considering a home business -- namely the near-impossibility
of taking time off when you are working under contractual agreements.
It can be difficult to find a backup MT in your area whose quality
of work you can guarantee to your client and who has time to
fill in for your time off. Also, because of the sometimes fierce
competition for business in a particular geographical area, there
is always the threat of losing a good customer to a less-than-ethical
MT who may be tempted to undercut prices after filling in for
you, thereby getting a plummy account for him/herself. If an
office has come to rely on your excellent product, productivity
and turnaround time, it can be very difficult for their medical
records' department if you are simply "not working"
for a week or two. The only time that I, myself, have had "off"
since beginning my business in 12/94 have been a few long weekends
that included Friday and Monday, plus a couple of days when my
grandson was born. It's not a wonderful situation, but it seems
to be universal among MT's with home businesses. It is certainly
a major change from working as an employee in other fields where
2-5 weeks' vacation are common, as are sick days, personal days,
etc. I would think this would be a major "caution"
flag for women at home with children -- who do get sick, and
whose family probably goes on an annual vacation.
The third concern
for home-based MT work by men and women with small children is...the
small children. I know that some women do manage to simultaneously
work and care for infants and toddlers, but I personally can't
imagine how, and they do admit it is difficult. Many MT's hire
daycare helpers to come into the home during MT work hours, many
work at night after litte ones are in bed -- the others just
do what they can, I guess. The point is, this work takes extreme
concentration, intense listening skills, 100% accuracy, and perfect
results. I just have to believe it's very difficult to provide
perfect reports with small children around.
The last stumbling
block is mentioned at the end of the first
but probably not stressed enough. It really is tough to begin
work as a brand-new-newbie in MT. More than training, more than
presentation and marketing, experience is the one quality that
employers and potential clients want -- and many won't even interview
an applicant without it. There are ways to enter the market,
but it really is not easy. The AOL boards are full of disappointed
newbies who have finished training and just can not
get that first job -- either as a subcontractor, employee or
contractor. Sometimes it takes months -- particularly if the
applicant is not particularly adept at marketing and/or is not
a very aggressive person naturally. Just starting a home business
does not ensure clients. Those clients want to be sure their
MT knows his/her stuff and can provide a quality product. Unfortunately,
green newbies can do the basics, but experience is the only real
teacher in this field. It's definitely a dilemma. I guess the
bottom line is, don't expect to make your financial goals the
first six months or a year after training. My personal case was
unusual in that I had 35 years' business experience before transitioning
to this field -- but trust me, it is unusual to have immediate
success. I would estimate that a good year is needed before the
MT is bringing home the bacon (or other, healthier foodstuffs!).
It really is a point to be stressed in directing career material
toward the readership of at-home parents.
For more info,
click on MT-
A Brief Overview.
owns a medical
transcription service in California, having made the transition
from a corporate management position to home business owner in
1994. She is also a freelance writer and daily contributor on
the Medical Transcription Forum on AOL, as well as the mom of
grown-up twin sons. She can be reached via email.