Selasa, 22 Juli 2008

Starting Your Own Medical Transcription Business


According to the predictions of the United States Department of Labor, the MT industry will expand at a greater than average rate through the year 2012. The health care industry will need 158,000 more professionals in this field to keep up with baby boomers that are becoming senior citizens and will require more medical care. In this profession, there is great demand for qualified personnel, and much job security for those who meet the need and produce quality work.
Medical transcription is one of the few legitimate work at home jobs a person can train for. This article will focus on how to start your own Medical Transcription business.


To work professionally in this field, you first must get quality education. The best education for medical transcription is to enroll with a well-known on-line MT school. Many community colleges offer MT training, but since community colleges must meet the needs of the community they do not gear their training toward work at home MTs and they frequently throw in courses like filing, office procedures, etc. This takes away from the time you need to practice transcribing. Additionally, the best dictation tapes for training are the SUM CDs, and the community colleges cannot afford for every student to have a full set of these CDs, so students seldom get a chance in just one semester to transcribe all of the necessary reports that will assist one in becoming a qualified MT.

Getting Started

One you are adequately trained as an MT, you will probably wish to work for a national MT service where your work will pass through an MT editor for a few months. This will give you time to gain confidence, and will assist in ironing out any deficits that you may have in your skill set.

After you are thoroughly trained and confident in your skills, you are probably going to want to cut out the middle man (the national service), and contract with local physicians yourself. There is much money to be paid in launching out in this direction.

You will first need to make sure that you have a good home office set up including a good computer system, quality printer, fax machine, and adequate office space.

You will also need to decide how much you will charge for your services and what services you will offer. Are you willing to find addresses for letters? Are you willing to print the reports? Are you willing to mail letters? It is important not to undercharge for your services as this drives rates down in your area. The idea for a successful business is to charge competitively but to offer a few additional services.

Start up Expenses

Start up expenses vary greatly depending upon how many clients you want initially and if you intend to work from a home office or rent office space. You must figure the expense for an initial mass mailing, advertising expenses, initial office set up, and how you will pay for the dictation equipment, and or digital services. Most small MT businesses could get off the ground with just a few thousand dollars.

Finding the Clients

At this point, you are ready to find some clients. The first step is to take a survey of the physicians in your area. You want to ask the office manager the following questions to determine the need in your specific area:

- Do they have on-site transcription?
- How much experience do they require?
- What type of dictation equipment do they use- tapes or digital?

Then you will want to create an excellent flyer outlining your services, and to do a mass mailing to physicians in your area. Make sure you keep a list of the physicians that you will be mailing to, and then follow up with a telephone call to the office manager.

A list of selling points for going with a service rather than having someone in-house do the transcription is as follows:

- Save office space.
- Save money on benefits packages.
- Have vacation coverage.
- Turn around time is faster because the focus is just on MT and not other office tasks.

Once you get the appointment with the office manager or the physician, you need to sell them on the idea of using you as opposed to handwriting their records, or having someone in-house do the work. The benefits of transcription over handwriting are as follows:

- HIPAA compliance.
- Less mistakes. Explain that if the doctor is brought into court and asked to read what they have written but they cannot decipher their own handwriting, it could pose a legal situation. Additionally, if referring doctors cannot read the faxed record, and mistakes are made, it could pose legal issues.

Also, you should emphasize why the physician should choose you to do his transcription. Some selling points include the following:

- Quality transcription
- Confidentiality of information
- Excellent turn around times (TAT)
- You use state of the art equipment
- You are willing to do STAT reports whenever necessary

Being Organized

Once you have established a few clients and are happily working at home for yourself making good money, you will realize that you need to keep track of income and expenses for tax purposes. There are several ways to do this. One is to rely on an accounting software program like Quick books. You can also hire an accountant who will have you drop off your receipts and bank statements monthly. You can also keep records yourself but this should be done in an organized way. It is suggested that you take a general bookkeeping or accounting course to make sure that you are doing this correctly.

Also, it is never a bad idea to consult briefly with an attorney when doing a new business start up to make sure that you are complying with all local, state, and federal laws. Some people like to set up their business as a corporation, S-Corp, or sole proprietorship; others will do a limited liability corporation. Details about the different ways to set up your business is beyond the scope of this article, but it is suggested that you do research on each way that you can set up your business as each has both its benefits and drawbacks.


It is important to know when you need help. If you wish to grow your business and you continue to solicit for new clients, then you will need to hire people to help you do the work. Most small MT services will hire independent contractors to do this. You will need to do some research on how to keep track of the income you pay each contractor as you will need to prepare 1099 tax statements at the end of each year for each contractor. Additionally, doing some reading on employment law would be a good idea. Many new service owners get into trouble by treating their independent contractor’s like employees. There are specific laws governing the differences between independent contractors and employees.

Along with hiring some help, you will want to protect your business secrets by having each independent contractor sign a confidentiality agreement and possibly a non-compete agreement. It would be wise to have an attorney draw up these two documents for you to make sure they will stand up in a court of law should it be necessary. A non-compete agreement protects the business owner from things like an independent contractor soliciting your clients for a lesser amount. A confidentiality agreement prevents an independent contractor from discussing your trade secrets with others.

All in all starting your own MT service is a lucrative proposition and the outlook through the year 2012 is quite promising. The starts up costs are reasonable and you have the opportunity to grow the business as slowly or as quickly as you desire.


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