A medical transcriptionist takes notes recorded by a medical professional and transcribes them into a typed physical or digital record. Basic medical transcription equipment includes a voice recorder of some type, a computer, and a word processing program. Some transcriptionists use more advanced hardware and software to make their jobs easier, including voice recorders that produce digital copies, external noise-blocking headsets, ergonomic chairs and keyboards, and medical books or software.
One of the most important pieces of medical transcription equipment is the voice recorder. While this can be as simple as a tape recorder, many transcriptionists opt for more advanced digital voice recorders because these recorders allow them to transfer voice data straight to a computer. Headsets that block out external sounds come in handy when listening to these recordings, as it is very important to get every word exactly correct when transcribing medical notes. If a doctor’s records are subpoenaed by a judge for a malpractice suit or any other reason, even the slightest mistake can be detrimental.
The second important piece of medical transcription equipment is the device used to input the verbal notes into a written record. Before computers, typewriters were the most common type of device used. Today, most medical facilities rely on digital records, and transcriptionists typically use a computer with a word processing program to prepare their records. These programs range from free, open-source software to expensive programs designed specifically for medical transcribing. Many transcriptionists opt for software that can count the number of lines in a document, as some services pay per line rather than page.
Since medical transcriptionists spend a significant amount of time working at their desk and typing, many choose to purchase special ergonomic chairs, mice, and keyboards. While these are not required medical transcription equipment, they can be helpful at maintaining a higher level of comfort during work. Back and wrist pain are common ailments that affect those who spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, and ergonomic devices are designed to relieve some of the stress on the body.
Medical transcription equipment that helps explain medical terminology is also beneficial for transcriptionists. Even though most transcriptionists are required to take a basic class in medical terminology before obtaining a certificate, it is difficult to remember every term, especially those that are rarely used. Looking up unfamiliar terminology in a medical dictionary or software program ensures that the transcriptionist’s records are as accurate as possible.