Medical Transcription Services – Cheap Labour Or Work At Home Scam?

As with any sector of working life, technological advances are continuously implemented in order to streamline services and to increase productivity.

In the medical arena, doctors and surgeons have always needed to keep notes with regard to their patients.

Over the years, these have evolved from hand written pieces of paper to copy produced by a typewriter and, now, to digital files held on secure computers and servers.

medical-transcription

Medical transcription

One area, however, where human interaction is still key is in the area of medical transcription. Typically, this involves listening to taped conversation from a medical professional prior to document typing and formatting.

Medical transcription is a service that the majority of the medical industry consider to be outdated. However, they have to continue to employ it in many countries in order to satisfy legal regulations and insurance provider requirements.

As the cost of qualified medical professionals is so high, many organisations have resorted to cheaper labour for this task so that doctors and physicians can concentrate their time more effectively upon patient care. From an economic point of view this is simply good business sense and often essential in order to control spiralling costs.

Skill set

Medical transcription is not something that just anyone can do. As transcribed notes are added to a patient’s file, and can be used for administering future treatment by other health-care professionals, they need to be accurate. A simple spelling mistake or formatting error could, potentially, put a patient’s life at risk. Therefore, a medical transcriber should have the following skills, amongst many others –

  • Knowledge of medical terminology
  • High school or equivalent education
  • Excellent grasp of language
  • Excellent spelling ability
  • Analytical skills
  • Good typing skills
  • Computer skills
  • Ability to follow all types of communication accurately
  • Prior experience of transcribing

Outsourcing

In order to further control costs, medical institutions are increasingly turning to outsourcing as a means of acquiring medical transcription services at the lowest possible cost. Utilising Independent Contractors, hospitals are able to make savings on employee contributions as well as benefits. This, however, has led to some concerns –

  • The outsourcing of work from countries such as Britain and The States to the Philippines, Pakistan, India and other countries where labour is cheap in relative terms means that domestic transcribers are priced out of the marketplace
  • Privacy concerns are evident as the transcriber’s country may not have laws in place to protect the confidentiality of documents in the way that they would be governed in the originating country.
  • Poor quality may be an issue where work is outsourced to other countries where English may not be the native language and misunderstandings can easily occur through unfamiliarity with slang terms and colloquialisms.

Medical transcription scams

If you search the internet for ‘medical transcription work’ or similar phrases then you are likely to be confronted with a huge number of results.

Whilst I cannot categorically state that they are all scams, simply reading a few should set off some alarm bells.

Many of them sound like typical get rich quick scams.

They offer simple work, paying $50-150 per hour, a good rate in any country and especially so in Asia to where most such work is outsourced.

The entry requirements from these sites are either non-existent, or minimal, which is ridiculous as you now know that medical transcribers need to be highly skilled.

Furthermore, several of these sites are not actually offering instant work or opportunity.

Instead, they require payment in order to apply for such work.

My guess would be that you may pay and hear no more or simply receive a list of other web sites to which you would have to pay a fee for yet more worthless information.

Such scams often take advantage of the most needy – those on low income, or stay at home single mothers.

The offer of riches is often too tempting to resist but please try to remember the old axiom – if something looks too good to be true, then it probably is.

Cheap labour

Whilst outsourcing of work has been occurring for many years, arguably since the dawn of time in some industries, it is, in some ways, another type of scam. To those people in Asia who do actually find medical transcription work it may represent fair to good pay. However, I am fairly certain that they are receiving only a tiny fraction of the amount their British or American counterparts would have received. Whilst this makes sound economic sense for hospitals I can’t help feeling like we are taking advantage of ‘poorer’ countries by utilising cheap labour. I would also imagine that the benefits package offered to such workers may be far inferior to what a worker in the Western world could expect to receive, or may be non-existent altogether.

For those who have, or do, work in medical transcription servicing within Britain, American and other such countries it poses a real threat to their livelihoods as foreign wage costs are so cheap in relative terms that they just cannot hope to compete. This leads to people leaving the industry or having to accept much lower pay and less favourable working conditions.

Conclusion

With the current economic climate in Western hospitals, along with the growing burden upon the medical care industry, outsourcing medical transcription is essential.

This is because it saves money and allows doctors and other medical personnel to concentrate on what they are paid to do – take care of patients.

However, there are a number of unscrupulous people and organisations that have seized upon this in order to make a quick buck at others’ expense so please be aware and do your due diligence when considering this type of work.

Remember, if you are looking for work then a prospective employer should be offering you money, not the other way round.

There are some concerns with outsourcing medical transcription to Asian countries, in terms of privacy and quality.

I’m sure there are professional services that do not suffer from any of these issues, however, there are probably many more who see it as a money making opportunity and focus less on quality.

Lastly, I would say that outsourcing medical transcription carries the weight of moral and social responsibility as it’s effects impact on both the domestic workers who are displaced as well as the new, foreign workers.

Fortunately, in the Western world, many see money as being far more important so they won’t consider those issues and will sleep well all the same.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. A doc by profession who later on practiced occult. His life history is interesting.

  2. I haven’t seen it before. Medical coding and billing are totally different from transcription. It is probably less outsourced as the post says. It is a more challenging job as it involves insurance and money.

  3. i did in his movie…

  4. It is very interesting that his predictions can be interpreted in many ways whether or not to believe in the interpretations is one’s own choice. But he is one in a million personality.

  5. “In the City of God there will be a great thunder, two brothers torn apart
    by chaos, while the fortress endures, the great leader will succumb. The
    third big war will begin when the big city is burning on the 11th day of
    the 9 month that…two metalbirds would crash into two tall statues in the
    new city and the world will end soon after” – Nostradamus 1654-

    The flights that were Highjacked were from United and AA, they were numbered as follows:

    11, 93, 175, and 77
    11 = Today’s Date
    9+3 = 12 = Tomorrow
    1+7+5 = 13 = Thursday
    7+7 = 14 = Friday

    Hopefully this is a coincidence and the terrorists can’t add. but if this is correct there will either be acts of terrorism every day for the next few days or a grand event the last day. pass it around”

  6. what hoax?

  7. I am good at selecting good graphics though!

  8. yahoo its a purple saree

  9. oops i did it again!
    !!!!!

  10. I’ve just seen a post on Work From Home Momma that talks of a medical billing scam. Have you ever come across that one Aruna?

  11. btw, thanks for doing this post…though i know this may not have been of particular interest to you.

    • I have an interest in almost anything that may or may not be a scam.

      I just have a backlog of posts – I always have rough copies written out and then discipline myself to working through them in order.

  12. what accident scammy?

  13. I love your humour!

  14. oops someone has a gmail ac on that linnk

  15. then why did u lol@scammmy
    but i like Mr. scam too or should i call you Mr.Big?
    Just kidding

  16. A good professional transcriber is in great demand. So once you become skilled at the profession you can demand good salary and most big companies are ready to pay. There are three main hierarchies in this industry-the transcriptionist, editor, and the proofreader. It is mostly people at the lower hierarchy that join new companies and get paid very less.
    A typical MT work-at-home scam site is PROBABLY something that sounds like the one below:
    thehomeworker.org
    The offers sound tempting don’t they. I follow the simple rule-never pay to get paid what I learnt from Mr. Scam.

    • but..but. Scammy sounds so much better :)

      The site you mentioned has the ‘get rich quick ebook’ sales page look to it. I know nothing about the site but once I saw the formatting it was enough for me to exit the page.

  17. good question!
    The pay is again directly proportional to the quality of work. So a person who is skilled at the job soon finds himself at the top of the ladder.The pay is definitely good for a good professional or at least that is how it is in reputed companies.

  18. The b’lore incident was long back…it could be on the web

  19. Exactly why you cannot compare wages.Pay is proportional to cost of living.

    • Being an Indian, can you comment on whether such work is well or poorly paid in comparison to other forms of employment in your country?

  20. Scammy,
    1. Outsourcing is not an option it is essential. A very important factor is the turnaround time. Since India is several hours ahead of US and Europe, there is quicker turnaround time. This is just as essential as the quality of transcription. We work when you sleep and of course vice versa.

    2. One thing I appreciate about Westerners is that they will never compromise on quality. So if an MT company does not offer good quality they are out of business.

    3. Standard of living is low in India comparatively. It is not only the MT industry but any IT industry or for that matter for any profession the pay is less compared to what it is in US or Brit.

    So I would say MT industry by itself is not a scam.There are some companies which pay very less and still others that refuse to pay after getting the work done. It is not easy to prove this because mostly people are embarrassed to come out with the truth. But recently there was a case in Bangalore, India where an MT professional went on a strike to demand higher wages.

    • lol @ Scammy

      I think I made the point that outsourcing is essential in my conclusion but you are right, the time difference can certainly be an added benefit.

      Hmmm,where I live it is generally accepted that work quality and productivity are higher amongst the migrant workforce than the indigenous population.

      The pay is less in India for sure but then so is the cost of living. I wonder how it compares in relative terms.

      Do you have a link to the Bangalore case on the web?

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