As you probably already know from previous posts, I am a recent graduate of the Medical Transcription course at Everett Community College here in Washington. I finished up the course in 1 year 3 months since I hit a few speed bumps along the way that prevented me from finishing up in the allotted time of 9 months. Regardless of how long it took, I did it, and that is a huge accomplishment for me.
After graduating, I immediately set out the hunt for jobs who hired beginners in the Medical Language Specialist field, and Nuance happened to be the easiest to get the foot in the door with so to speak. They required me to agree to work full-time for the first year since I was entry level and I needed to have a 99.5% accuracy at all times, but they would be lenient with me to allow me to get up to speed since I am a beginner. Since I would be hired as an employee, I qualified for benefits after 90 days too. Everything sounded good and I started training for the work at home MLS position on February 4th, a few weeks before my Vegas vacation. The training was extensive video watching, probably a little too much to consume, which left me confused about the platform I would be working on. I did have live training a couple times, but they basically went over the same thing that we watched in the video and it helped some, but of course, you’re not going to remember everything that you had gone over previously, especially since they didn’t want me to start until after my vacation. So 2 weeks go by, then I have my vacation and start my official start date on March 6th at noon. I did not have any idea I would be starting that day since my supervisor decided to say just jump right in after our phone meeting. That was fine, but I didn’t get much done because I was trying to familiarize myself with the platform, account specifics that doctors require from you and a bunch of other stuff.
The first week was rough, as to be expected. My supervisor requires a weekly phone meeting to see where I am at. She recognized my errors immediately and told me I needed to improve these. For those that don’t know anything about medical transcription/editing, you’re basically listening to a crappy recording of a doctor who talks like an auctioneer or a foreigner or someone sucking on a cough drop or whatever the case may be, and you need to transcribe exactly verbatim. That means if you miss or add any of these when they are not said, “the, an, a, and, etc.” you will get marked off for it, and believe me, it affects your accuracy rating. I had a lot of them because the recordings for the most part sound so garbled, or doctors wouldn’t enunciate correctly, so even though there was a “the” in there for “the patient”, they would say it so close together that you thought they were only saying, patient. I have even added a the in there to make it “the patient” when there wasn’t because I figured that it was more grammatically correct. Don’t ask me why you get dinged for these nonsensical errors because I don’t have a clue. Now don’t get me wrong, I had a few critical errors for not seeing that the patient’s age was incorrect. You would think that the doctor should be penalized for this since he’s the one that spoke the wrong age, but nope, it’s our ass if it’s wrong because we are the ones that have to fix their reports. Critical errors are the highest errors possible, which is a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ) error. We could be sued for these errors. Now do I think that an incorrect age is going to put the patient’s life in jeopardy? Not really. My errors were not huge errors to where the age was a child, but put as an adult; nothing like that that I can see affecting the patient’s outcome with possible medication and whatnot.
Week 2 went by and I still had errors as to be expected because no one is perfect, not even the men and women who have been doing this for 20+ years.
Week 3, my errors were still there but slowly and surely improving from the previous 2 weeks. My supervisor scheduled a meeting with me and HR, more than likely to scare me into trying to do better since she’s evil like that. On the phone meeting, they made an agreement, not me, “THEY”, that I need to have half the errors of week 3 for the next 2 weeks. This means I have very little leeway, even though I am still new at this. Three and a half weeks is not enough time to be perfect at the platform when you have to pend to hospitals, search patient information to make sure it’s correct, make sure the work-type is correct (which I think should be the doctors responsibility), the correct date of service (again, doctors should input this information before they upload it to us, the client) They’re getting paid to see patient’s for like 20 minutes, yet make you wait in the waiting room, and again in the exam room for hours while they come out and speak their reports for us. You wonder what they’re doing, this is what they’re doing, along with visiting with their peers. You hear so much stuff on the recordings that it’s quite humorous. You may be thinking I am a bitter doctor hater, but I assure you I appreciate everything they do for us, I just don’t like how they get ridiculous amounts of money when we’re the ones doing their paperwork for pennies. This job position used to make $20+ an hour, but ever since outsourcing became the norm, they make everyone work for pennies or in my case $9.19 an hour which is the minimum wage in my state. (if I wasn’t an actual employee, I would have only been making $5.40 an hour which is ridiculous.) This is a lot more than some places, so I was grateful for that, but for the amount of work you do, it’s a complete joke. So, half the errors for the next 2 weeks did not seem possible to me. Not to be negative, but I knew that goal was way out of reach with this being my first MLS job.
Week 4 was much better. I had half the errors as the previous weeks, but my supervisor didn’t care because I already failed her 2-week requirement. Our phone meeting consisted of her being quite angry about FIESA not working correctly so she could check QC’s grades for me. I mentioned that one QC person, in particular, kept dinging me for the same thing over and over and there were about 10 in that report. She immediately fixed those once she saw them, but that still didn’t give me any leeway for the job as she said it’s up to HR if I get to stick around or not, which was a new phone meeting scheduled for next week.
Week 5, I am doing markedly better and had half the errors of week 4. My accuracy was even 98.6%. But, since I failed their goal, it didn’t matter. They didn’t see me as improving up to their speeds or standards. I was improving slowly but surely each week and they didn’t give me a chance. My supervisor complained to HR, otherwise, none of this would have taken place because they’re all scatterbrained for the most part anyways. Most people don’t even clock in on days they’re supposed to and HR/payroll doesn’t care. So basically this goes to show that my words stand correct.
HR was on the conference call and told me sorry, they had to let me go because my errors were consistent. My supervisor was lying to her saying I had more errors than what FIESA was stating, but I wasn’t going to sit there and argue with them because I want a company who is actually willing to work with their employees and give them all the possible help they need in order to succeed.
Had I known that this job would not be a place that I could learn to grow, I probably wouldn’t have wasted my time. Hell, I wasn’t even given a 90 day probation period to get up to speed; whereas if I was given one, I feel like I would have been way more familiar with everything and could have improved drastically.
…you live and you learn I guess.
For anyone trying to do Medical Transcription as a career, I honestly hope reading this makes you avoid it like the plague. Each company outsources to other countries because they work for less. Big dogs are being let go because they make too much money, and they over hire new graduates because they know they probably won’t last long enough to make it anyways. So let this be a warning to you. I wished I had someone telling me that this was a dying field before I went to school for it. BTW, if you’re currently in school, don’t bother listening to them say that you SHOULD or NEED to get certified or registered. This is just a ploy to give money to AHDI, the people who started the certification process. No MT job asks for it or makes it a requirement according to numerous people on the MTStars forum board, so don’t waste your hundreds of dollars testing for it!
Hospitals are letting go of their MLS workers and being bought out by bigwig companies like Nuance and M*Modal. Just know, that if you do decide to work for any of these companies, you will not be able to financially support yourself on your own. If you’re a supplemental income and you don’t mind working for minimum wage, then go for it. You might have better luck than I since there are millions of different accounts to work on and different supervisors to work for!
I just wish you good luck, because you’re going to need it.