In order to be a medical transcriptionist, there is certain equipment you will need. These tools of the trade enable you to do your job in a timely and efficient manner and allow you to make a living in your chosen field. When you are choosing medical transcription equipment, it pays to spend a little more money on high-quality materials.
After all, you will be using this equipment every day to make a living, so it stands to reason you will want the very best for your money.
Here is a list of standard medical transcription equipment. You can begin collecting this material as soon as you start your training, and by the time you graduate you will have a complete set of medical transcription tools ready to start your career.
1) Computer with word-processing software. There are very expensive desktop and laptop computers available, but fortunately as a medical transcriptionist the software you will be running does not require vast amounts of RAM or high-tech sound cards, unlike some of the software used in other careers such as graphic design or architecture.
Any computer that will run up-to-date word processing software is acceptable. MS Word and WordPerfect are good choices for medical transcriptionists, although you may also choose to invest in “add on” software especially designed for medical transcriptionists. These software packages have special features such as embedded medical dictionaries.
If you are going to buy specialized medical transcription software, be sure to spend some time with a trial version before you invest your money in purchasing a full license. You want to be sure that the program you choose is one that will lend itself well to your particular style.
2) Transcription playback equipment. Depending on how your clients record their dictation, you may be using a variety of equipment to transcribe their work. The “old-fashioned” dictation machines that play back regular or small cassettes are still popular, although many doctors are turning to digital voice software to record their records.
These digital recorders can send you the dictation as a file online so that you can pick up records at any point through a simple email. If your doctor still uses physical tapes, you will have to gather these on a regular basis and transcribe them.
A few doctors also use in-office transcription equipment that feeds the dictation from a tape bank accessible by anyone who wants to transcribe the material. This is common in offices where there are several transcriptionists.
3) You will also need a foot pedal to assist the speed of your transcription. Many transcription devices include a foot pedal the transcriptionist operates to start and stop the tape. The transcriptionist can also rewind the tape with the foot pedal, leaving the hands free to concentrate on typing.
Foot pedal software is also available that connects your foot pedal to your transcription software. Foot pedals can be very small or larger, according to your preference.
4) Earphones. Good quality earphones are very important when you are transcribing. Look for comfortable earphones that cancel outside noise so that you can easily hear what is being dictated and focus on your work. Earphones are something you will be using many hours a day, so be sure to choose the best quality and have a back-up pair just in case.
5) Copier, fax, scanner. Your home office will need a way to make copies of various papers for your records, a way to fax information to doctors’ offices and others, and a way to scan documents you wish to save to your computer. New combination fax, scanner, and copier machines have become very reasonable, especially for a home office that does not need to make multiple copies of documents several times a day.
These combined machines will probably be sufficient for your needs and will not cost you a tremendous amount of money.
The amount of equipment you need to become a medical transcriptionist is not great, but it can be costly. Investing in the very best software for digitally transcribing voice files, for example, can cost several hundred dollars for entry-level programs. However, you must keep in mind that this is an investment in your financial future and you should purchase the best quality equipment possible.
You can also take the cost of many of your home-business items off your taxes in the form of deductions for depreciation. Talk to your tax expert about how to document your spending on medical transcription equipment so that you can take full advantage of all tax deductions available to you as a home business owner.