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Acute Care or Clinic Work in Medical Transcription

The decision to start with acute care or clinic work is not going to make or break the rest of your medical transcription career, but it does matter. It’s a choice better made on purpose than left to chance. To help you decide, here are some characteristics of acute care transcription:

  • You work primarily for hospitals and urgent-care facilities.

  • You work on a large variety of report types crossing numerous specialties and subspecialties, including operations (which many medical transcriptionists find fascinating).

  • There is a large, often changing pool of dictators, making it harder (if not impossible) to learn their idiosyncrasies and create time-saving shortcuts.

  • There is a heavier concentration of English as a second language (ESL) dictators.

  • You’re virtually always required to work at least one weekend day.

  • There is often higher deadline pressure with tighter turnaround times.

  • A greater depth and breadth of skills are needed, which usually translates into a higher rate of pay.

  • Skills are very transferrable to other acute-care or clinic medical transcription positions.

And here are some characteristics of clinic transcription:

  • You work primarily for physician offices and specialty groups.

  • There are fewer report types to master — typically limited to H&Ps, office notes, consultation reports, and referral letters.

  • There is a smaller pool of dictators, making it easier to learn their idiosyncrasies and create time-saving shortcuts.

  • The turnaround times are typically not as tight and you’re under somewhat less pressure.

  • You have the potential to earn more money with less stress if the stars align (and you’re a master of shortcuts).

  • The skillset isn’t as marketable due to the laws of supply and demand.

  • The work is more repetitive and potentially less intellectually stimulating than acute care work.

You also can specialize in a field like radiology or oncology, but that’s more likely to be an option for experienced medical transcriptionists than newcomers to the field.

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