Modern medical transcriptionists have a variety of tools and programs to draw on beyond the basic word-processing software, foot pedal and headset. Since each transcriptionist has their own particular work style, there are as many combinations of tools and equipment as there are MTs.
Here is a quick look at some of the medical transcription equipment and supplies MTs have to help them in performing their job duties. This list is by no means exhaustive; a quick search of the Web will reveal many more gadgets and programs.
- Desktop Microphone – With this useful tool, dictations can be digitally recorded directly on your personal computer. Management software is sometimes included. This piece of equipment combines the talents of both the author and transcriptionist so they can convert speech to text. These are also called SpeechMikes.
- Digital Voice Recorders – To download audio files to your personal computer, you may find DVRs to be indispensable. Like cameras and other digital equipment, they can use memory sticks or USB cables to link to your personal computer.
- Dictation Software – This software can be great for medical transcription professionals who need a dictation application without tying up a dedicated telephone line or having to carry around a portable device.
- DVD Transcribers – These are relatively new devices that act as stand-alone systems, which means you do not need to use a PC or any other system to hook them up to. Since it is a dedicated piece of equipment, there is no fear of Internet hackers snooping around or messing up your databases or sensitive information. The downside is that they can be very expensive.
- Encryption Software – If you are worried about hackers and don’t utilize a stand-alone system, this software will protect your sensitive information by encrypting and moving around your files safely.
- Foot Pedals & Software Systems – Foot pedals are useful devices for hands-free transcription. There are many types to choose from, though the right one may depend on your dictation machines and software.
- Headsets – They range in price from about $12 to $50, depending on how much noise reduction and amplification you need, and if you need a Dictaphone plug.
- Line Counters – Many MTs use line counters to assist in billing, because some companies pay by the transcribed line. Many of these counters include complex algorithms that figure out invoices for you, counting everything from spaces to italic characters.
- Memory Sticks – These are digital storage media that can handle up to 256 megabytes of information. They are also handy for making backing ups your data.
- Micro Cassette Voice Recorders – Don’t like digital transcribing? These micro cassettes will not hold much, but they’re useful and compact.
- Microphones – These come in many flavors, from wireless to USB to digital to stereo. Again, your other medical transcription equipment may dictate your microphone needs.
- Phone-In Systems – These systems link everything digitally and are PC-compatible and ready. You may transcribe reports in any order, proofing them with the recorded voice if necessary while still at your personal computer. They can be sent back to the dictator’s PC to be proofed and edited as well.
- Spell Checkers – There are medical-specific spell checkers for the MT; they usually contain thousands of words that can help you check your report for accuracy.
- Medical Dictionaries – These are useful for knowing the definitions of words as well as the correct pronunciations, all by clicking on the words or icons associated with medical terminology.
- Voice Recorder Applications & Systems – These are different types of voice recognition software. Again, do your research when buying voice recorders. Obviously, you must spend more to get more options and ease of use.