MT Associations: Credibility For Your Career



Understanding Professional Credentialing and its Benefits:

Expecting an MT to become credentialed at some point in his or her tenure as an MT seems appropriate as it is ultimately in the best interest of patient care delivery.

The question to address or the focal point is: In what ways would the restriction of entry into the practice of medical transcription and editing without proper credentials and training to protect patients, enhance the delivery of patient care services and create more operational efficiency within the healthcare system of delivery?

An untrained transcription workforce is totally incongruent with the intent of patient privacy and confidentiality. Some comment that an MT need not be a credentialed MT in order to be monitored as far as access to patient records are concerned. However, there is a more crucial concern and that is the ability of the MT to alter and modify the patient record; therefore, keeping patient records safe does not just involve the transcriberís access to the patient history and its contents. The industry needs to assure that only skilled, qualified individuals who possess accountability have access to patient records for the purposes of creating, modifying and formatting the clinical care record.

The job of the MT involves a highly analytical and interpretive set of skills wherein as specialists of the medical language they partner with health care providers in order to create a record that is accurate as far as the patient care experience. The profession requires a basic understanding of the diagnostic process, medicines used, treatment and continued care interpreted precisely and applied within the context of a narrative which is complex and dictation that is many times difficult to understand.

The dictation presents challenges on an continual basis for those individuals involved in the MT profession: there are providers who speak English as a second language, providers who perform their dictations in a broken and a rambling manner, and those who will dictate at a high rate of speed thus placing demands on the MT in using his or her skill set of interpretation in the process.

MTís cannot bring that skill set to the table without a substantial foundation of knowledge and a high level of training. The pace at which healthcare delivery is administered does not provide time for taking individuals off the street and training and mentoring them in the job of medical interpretation. This type of unregulated scenario is unpredictable and limits the MTís own ability to identify errors and inconsistencies in the form of narrative that is dictated. After all, noting inconsistencies and discrepancies in the patientís healthcare record is a primary role of the MT and health care specialists and providers rely on the MTís recognition of such errors in order to ensure the health data is captured and in turn recorded precisely, that any inconsistencies are addressed, and that the record after being formally amended is authenticated by the health care provider.

Creating credentialing within the profession ensures the healthcare delivery provided by the MT is performed by one in the profession who has met minimum standards to serve in this role of risk management. Considering the crucial role that patient records play in the continuity of care as well as accurate and timely reimbursement, healthcare specialists are well served to be knowledgeable in the difference a skilled and credentialed MT can make in the overall process.

An MT with just marginal skills, at the very least, will be limited in his or her ability in making a contributory role in the analysis of record errors. And beyond this thought, providers and individuals seeking employment as an MT need to understand the fiscal impact made on the process of healthcare delivery when an improperly trained MT joins the transcription workforce.

Each time a report is transcribed by an MT with a minimal level of knowledge and skills of interpretation, the healthcare system assumes the following risks:

  • The MT may misinterpret key clinical data in his or her dictations;
  • The MT may fail to recognize dictated errors and inconsistencies;
  • The MT will be overwhelmed by unfamiliar terminology

All of the above points present a major impact and immeasurable costs to the healthcare industry as a whole. In relation to this point it is therefore important that the MT be well-trained and at some point during his or her tenure receives credentials.

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