Explore a Career in Medical Transcription/Healthcare Documentation

Explore a Career in Medical Transcription/Healthcare Documentation

Healthcare documentation specialists used to be called medical transcriptionists, but the field has grown to include voice recognition editing and scribing duties. The expanded possibilities for employment and the upgraded skills are reflected in the new title. In this course, you will learn traditional transcription and the skills needed for voice recognition (VR) editing and scribing.

6 Weeks Access / 24 Course Hrs
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Take your first step toward becoming a medical transcriptionist, otherwise known as a healthcare documentation specialist! In this medical transcriptionist training, you will learn the traditional transcription of the most common medical reports used in both inpatient and outpatient settings and the skills needed for voice recognition (VR) editing and scribing. During your training, you will review grammar you might have forgotten since high school and apply it to the reports. You will have the opportunity to work with real dictation using the same tools medical transcriptionists use.

In this medical transcriptionist course, we will also look at how you can further your education to take advantage of the new job markets available to transcriptionists, voice recognition editors, and scribes so you can position yourself for the future in this exciting field. By the end of the course, you will know the basics of the major reports and key clinical points of major disease processes.


In this first lesson, we'll look at the history of medical transcription as a career. You'll find out how the field has evolved from medical secretary to transcriptionist and into its modern form. You'll explore the various medical transcriptionist skills and aptitudes you'll need to succeed in the field. You'll examine the type of work HDSs produce, and we'll look at the kinds of jobs that exist today, where you might work, and what might be in store for those working in this field.

We'll start by discussing the HDS's tools of the trade, reviewing a few of the reference books and the types of websites that HDSs use for research. Then, we'll look at the hardware and software used on the job. We'll talk you through downloading the free software we'll use in this course, and then we'll go through a quick tour of how to use it. By the end of this lesson, you'll be sitting at your computer, experiencing an actual medical dictation audio file, and using the Express Scribe software on your screen. As you work through the medical report, you'll practice starting, pausing, and rewinding the audio as you tap away on the keyboard.

There are nine report types that medical professionals use most often in both hospitals and clinics. In this lesson, we'll review various examples of real medical reports. We'll also do a quick review of medical correspondence. Medical letters aren't much different from traditional letters, but since you might not have typed a traditional letter in a while, a refresher might be nice. We'll finish the lesson with some specific tips about pathology reports and how to handle numbers and measurements. Then, you'll practice transcribing a medical letter and a pathology report.

We'll spend this lesson reviewing how to listen most effectively and discussing the difference between hearing and active listening. We'll also touch on many issues that keep voice recognition systems from replacing humans, including homonyms, synonyms, and antonyms. Then, we'll discuss how you can use phonetics and vowel sounds (as well as a few other tricks!) to help you figure out a word or phrase in a muddled recording. Then we'll talk a bit about the radiology department and radiology reports and finish by practicing transcribing one in today's assignment.

Lesson 5 will discuss subjects that might make you cringe a little: grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation. But this will be a painless, maybe even enjoyable, journey through some of the basic principles of writing that will help you become a better HDS. We will learn a little more about SOAP notes and then turn our attention to infectious diseases and medications. You'll also have the chance to transcribe a SOAP note and a radiology report in the lesson assignment.

We'll continue our writing examination in this lesson by discussing style from the HDS perspective. Whether transcribing or editing a document produced by voice recognition, you must follow editorial directions in spelling, capitalization, and typographical display. Those directions are the style HDSs must be concerned about. You'll be surprised at how many different ways you can treat a single word. Should it be capitalized or lowercase? Should you abbreviate it, or should you spell it out? Should your numbers be in digit form or word form? These are the issues we will cover in this lesson. Finally, we'll focus on the H&P report, and you'll have the chance to practice transcribing one.

No matter what you transcribe or edit, you can be sure that medical terminology will be a huge part of it. That's what we'll be focusing on today. Dictators aren't perfect. They might say one word when they actually mean another. Or they might say a word that has a sound-alike word, like anuresis and enuresis. If you understand medical terminology well, you can pinpoint the correct word to ensure your transcription is accurate. Then, we will review the basic nature of heart disease and its treatment. We'll also take a close look at another common disease: diabetes.

A critical component of the HDS's work is how you put your reports together. So, we'll talk about how to break up your reports into sections with headings, subheadings, special line spacing, page breaks, and other formatting niceties. We'll also look closer at ways you can make your work easier by using word processing shortcuts, AutoText, macros, and templates. Mastering them will make you a faster and more efficient HDS! We will also focus on surgical reports. Surgical terminology is important to know, and it's also fascinating to take a look at what goes on in the operating room. The assignment for this lesson will include a surgical report to help you put to work all the new knowledge you've gained.

Another essential step in healthcare documentation is editing and proofreading your work; that's what we'll concentrate on today. We will start by sharing some editing do's and don'ts and what to look for when proofreading. We will cover a disease process that has affected virtually everyone in some way: cancer. Once you have an overview of cancer, we'll work on the consultation report. Physicians often ask specialists to evaluate their patients, especially cancer patients, further. So, this is a common report you'll likely transcribe regularly. The lesson assignment includes a consult report to transcribe, and you'll also get to practice proofreading.

So far, we've focused on the mechanical elements of medical transcription. But there is still a lot you need to know about clinical issues. So, this will be an entirely clinical lesson. We'll talk about classification systems and their transcription foibles. Plus, now that you have the bones of grammar and style down, we'll talk about some real bones. We'll begin by discussing fractures and spine levels. Finally, we'll discuss discharge and death summaries. They are very similar reports, but we'll examine some subtle differences.

This lesson will be similar to the last in that it covers many clinical issues. It won't all be clinical, however. There are a few miscellaneous things to cover. They don't fit into neat categories, so they are all put here. Once we finish with these miscellaneous items, we'll jump back into some clinical issues, talking specifically about infections. Then, we'll focus on smaller components of the body: cells and blood. You'll notice how everything you've learned can come together in an autopsy report. This is probably the longest, most comprehensive report you'll come across. Of course, you'll also have the chance to transcribe an autopsy report in the assignment!

By now, you have the tools and the knowledge you need to dip your toe into the waters of healthcare documentation. But we still have a couple of big questions to answer. How do you manage your workload? Also, how do you establish yourself as a medical transcriptionist? And do you need more training? Today, we'll discuss the various ways you can work—everything from being an independent contractor all the way up to consultant work. We'll talk about additional training as well. Then, we'll take a peek at why this is an exciting time to enter the medical transcription field. We will look at some details about working in related fields, such as document integrity specialist, EHR specialist, and scribe.



There are no prerequisites for this course. However, it is recommended that you have prior knowledge of medical terminology and touch-typing before enrolling in this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 10 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Jennifer Della'Zanna

Jennifer Della'Zanna has more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry, having worked as a medical transcriptionist, practice administrator, biller, and coding specialist. She writes courses and study guides on the use of technology in health care and regularly contributes to publications about health issues. Della'Zanna is a member of the American Academy of Professional Coders and the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Albright College.


This course exceeded my expectations. It was everything I was looking for and more. A++ for the instructor. I completed the Medical Secretary Training ( a 9-month course) at a technical college ~ 20 years ago and wanted to see how the industry changed, brush up my skills and decide if this was a career for me. Jennifer is so pleasantly willing to present a vast of array of resources, details, nuances, considerations, and experiences. I have taken a few on-line courses and this by far was the best one.

This course gave me information that I did not know even though I've been a medical transcriptionist for almost 9 years. I always learned something new in each lesson and was very informative. The resources given to you for future reference are very useful as well. I enjoyed taking this refresher course and would definitely recommend it to friends and family.

I've taken a few ed2go courses, and this has been my favorite one. More than in any of the other courses, each individual lesson felt like something really substantial that packed the maximum amount of information into a concise form. Jennifer Della'Zanna has a perfectly engaging writing style and manages to organize a pretty dense amount of data combining both a general purview of the medical field and the specifics of the transcriptionist's trade. The assignments that allow one to download audio dictation samples to work with also give a good feel for the demands of the profession right from the very beginning.

I really enjoyed this course. The instructor was very knowledgeable and informative. She made the material interesting and easy to digest. I particularly enjoyed the practice corners - information one can use in one's life whether working as an MT or not. I would recommend this course and instructor to anyone interested in this subject.

I have been a nurse for 24 years with previous MT training. This course is excellent! The information contained within will make your MT experience much easier, faster and so much more enjoyable.

Fantastic course and instructor! The content was so much more than just the mechanics of medical transcription. I feel like I got my money's worth ten times over from this class. Immensely educational and enjoyable - and you can't say that about too many classes.

I have been a nurse for 24 years with previous MT training. I found this course to be excellent! The information contained within will make your MT experience much easier, faster and so much more enjoyable.

I was truly very impressed with this course. Having a nursing background really helped because this course was quite challenging in a positive way. I really enjoyed the material, both the medical and grammar components. The computer formatting advice was greatly appreciated. I will definitely recommend this course and hope to continue with an advanced course, if it is available. It would be my greatest pleasure if I could find employment in this field. Thank you very much.

Two thumps up! Jennifer Della'Zanna was an excellent instructor who presented an excellent course. Her depth of knowledge in medical transcription as well as her knowledge of medical conditions...had me looking forward to Wednesdays and Fridays just so I could learn something new about the field of medical transcription. I have acquired enough information that will allow me to practice what I have learned long after this course ends.

This course was excellent! The best online course I've taken. It was extremely well organized and the information was presented in a very logical way that was easy to understand. The course gives you all the information you need to determine whether you want to pursue a job in the MT field. The links and resources are excellent. Thank you, Jennifer.

Self-Guided Course Code: T9212
Instructor-Moderated Course Code: mt1