There has been a lot of talk over the last few years about the shift to speech recognition technology and whether or not that will mean the end of the medical transcription profession. Speech recognition technology automatically generates a written report from the audio of a doctor’s dictation. For years, people have been saying that once this software was advanced enough for a majority of healthcare facilities to make the switch, medical transcriptionists would go the way of the dinosaurs. However, the reality is that there will also be a need for medical transcriptionists—their role in the industry will just evolve. (Read our Preparation for Speech Recognition article to learn how you can pick a training program that will prepare you for the industry changes.)
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) specifically states, "Advancements in speech recognition technology are not expected to significantly reduce the need for well-trained medical transcriptionists. . . . In spite of the advances in this technology, the software has been slow to grasp and analyze the human voice, the English language, and the medical vernacular with all its diversity. As a result, there will continue to be a need for skilled medical transcriptionists to identify and appropriately edit the inevitable errors created by speech recognition systems and to create the final document."
Speech recognition technology is beginning to be adopted in an increasing number of healthcare facilities. However, there is a definite need for well trained transcriptionists who can review and edit the final documents to ensure the necessary level of accuracy. This new role is known as medical editing or medical transcription editing, and it is a specialized medical transcription skill set. As the use of speech recognition technology becomes more standard, professionals with the medical editing skill set will be in higher and higher demand. If you are interested in establishing a long term medical transcription career, completing a training program that teaches both standard medical transcription and medical editing will best prepare you to succeed in the job market.