Medical Transcriptionists in Puerto Rico
The primary responsibility of medical transcriptionists is to listen to audio recordings from physicians and other healthcare providers and convert them into official written medical documentation. Transcriptionists are also becoming increasingly responsible for editing documents made using voice recognition software, in response to updates in medical technology. Anyone interested in this career field will need to have good keyboarding and listening skills along with an eye for detail.
In addition to a basic knowledge of word processing software and health information technology, medical transcriptionists also need to have a good working knowledge of anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, common disease processes, medical terminology, diagnostic procedures and medical abbreviations. Other important skills include familiarity with appropriate reference materials and an up-to-date knowledge of legal and confidentiality requirements.
Regulations in Puerto Rico for Medical Transcriptionists
Puerto Rico does not have a governing body for medical transcriptionists, nor is licensure a requirement to practice in the field. Those wishing to pursue a career as a medical transcriptionist will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent as well as certification from a reputable training program. Training can take anywhere from several weeks to two years depending on the program. Programs are available both on-site and online, with online training being far more prevalent.
Training for Medical Transcriptionists in Puerto Rico
It may be difficult to find in-person training in Puerto Rico; however, there are many opportunities for online training. Two of these distance-learning options include:
- Penn Foster offers an online program for medical transcription. Enrolled students will have ongoing access to the program, along with a student community, peer learning network and career services. The program will use simulations to help students gain hands-on experience with producing reports as well as provide an overview of voice recognition technology and its impact on the industry. The training is entirely self-paced.
- Ashworth College offers training for medical transcription on a strictly online basis. The program promises to prepare students for the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) examination through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) and includes the exam fee in the price of tuition. The course provides education on basic medical terminology and the various systems in the body.
Potential Additional Certifications
The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) offers certification for medical transcriptionists with less than two years’ experience as Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialists (RHDS). Acquiring additional certifications such as this is a great way for a candidate to stand out in a crowded career field, as it shows potential employers a higher degree of expertise and professionalism. The designation can be earned through passing an examination consisting of multiple-choice questions, audio exercises and a sample transcription.
Growth Projections and Salaries in Puerto Rico
Nationally, the career is expected to undergo a decline of 3.3 percent between the years 2016 and 2026, according to Projections Central. Unfortunately, the decline in Puerto Rico is even worse with a 15.8 percent decline predicted in the same time period.
Salaries in the region are also below the national average, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting a mean annual salary of $25,070 in 2018. It is worth noting that in Puerto Rico, austerity measures were enacted in 2018, potentially affecting salaries going forward.
Opportunities for Medical Transcriptionists in Puerto Rico
Despite lower than average wages for medical transcriptionists in Puerto Rico, a potential draw for those interested in the career is the ability working remotely from home and for freelance work, meaning they can look for work anywhere in the county. According to data from the BLS, most transcriptionists are employed in business support services, physicians’ offices and hospitals. Some possible employers in Puerto Rico include VirtualVocations and Oficina Medica.