Distance Learning Course of 12 Lessons
Take your first step toward a lucrative career as a medical transcriptionist! In this course, you’ll learn how to transcribe the most common medical reports used in both inpatient and outpatient settings. We’ll review a lot of the grammar you might have forgotten since high school and apply it to the reports. This knowledge will help prepare you to work almost anywhere in the medical field—doctors’ offices, clinics, public health facilities, and hospitals. With this foundation, you’ll be set to advance your education so you can work as a subcontractor for a company that outsources transcription, or you can eventually even take on your own clients—all from the comfort of your own home.
We’ll go through each of the nine main report types—their formatting requirements, the components of each one, and how they are used in the clinical setting. We’ll review grammar points in every lesson, pointing out important elements that will make your reports perfect. You’ll also gain important clinical knowledge of major disease processes that are essential to enhance your skill as a medical documentation specialist.
Along the way, we’ll download a free transcriber that you’ll use to listen to dictation, and we’ll cover how to use it to produce the reports in your word processor. These hands-on exercises will give you the practice you’ll need to determine if this field is for you. We’ll also go through the options you’ll have now and in the future by developing the skills of a medical transcriptionist.
Tuition & Fees
This course run for six weeks, with a two-week grace period at the end. Two lessons are released each week for the six-week duration of the course. You do not have to be present when the lesson is released, but you must complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
A new section of each course starts on the second or third Wednesday of each month. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.
Wednesday – Lesson 01
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 into its modern form, and you’ll explore the various skills and aptitudes that you’ll need to succeed as a professional medical transcriptionist. You’ll examine the type of work MTs produce, and we’ll take a look at the MT’s job today, where you might work, and what might be in store in the future for those working in this career field.
Friday – Lesson 02
We’ll start today by discussing the MT’s tools of the trade. We’ll review a few of the reference books and discuss the types of Web sites that MTs use for research. Then we’ll take a look at the hardware and software that today’s MTs use on the job. I’ll talk you through downloading the free software we’ll use in this course, and then we’ll go through a quick tour on how to use it. By the end of this lesson, you’ll be sitting at your computer, listening to a real medical dictation audio file and looking at the Express Scribe software on your screen. As you listen to the medical report, you’ll practice starting, pausing, and rewinding the audio as you tap away on the keyboard.
Wednesday – Lesson 03
There are nine report types that medical professionals use most often in both hospitals and clinics. So in this lesson we’ll go over a variety of 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, you might need a refresher. 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.
Friday – Lesson 04
We’ll spend this lesson going over how to listen most effectively, discussing the difference between hearing and active listening. We’ll also touch on many of the 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 we’ll finish up by practicing transcribing one in today’s assignment.
Wednesday – Lesson 05
Today we’re going to talk about some subjects that might make you cringe a little: grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation. But I promise this will be a painless, maybe even enjoyable, journey through some of the basic principles of writing that will help you become a better MT. Then, in our Practice Corner, we’ll talk 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 assignment that accompanies the lesson.
Friday – Lesson 06
We’ll continue our examination of writing in this lesson by talking about style from the MT’s perspective. When you’re transcribing, you must follow editorial directions in spelling, capitalization, and typographical display. And it’s those directions that are the style MTs need to be concerned about. I think you’ll be surprised at how many different ways you can treat a single word. Should it be capitalized or lowercased? 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’ll be covering in this lesson. Finally, in our Practice Corner, we’ll focus on the H&P report, and you’ll have the chance to practice transcribing one.
Wednesday – Lesson 07
No matter what you transcribe, one thing is a given: Medical terminology will be a huge part of it. That’s what we’ll be focusing on today. One thing to remember is that 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 cystitome and cystotome. If you have a good understanding of medical terminology, you can pinpoint the correct word to make sure your transcription is accurate. Then, in our Practice Corner, I’ll review the basic nature of heart disease and its treatment. We’ll also take a close look at another common disease: diabetes.
Friday – Lesson 08
A critical component of the MT’s work is the way you put your reports together. So in this lesson, 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 take a closer look 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 MT! In the Practice Corner, we’ll focus on surgical reports. Surgical terminology is important to know, and it’s also fascinating to take an inside 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.
Wednesday – Lesson 09
Another essential step in transcription is editing and proofreading your work. And that’s what we’ll concentrate on today. I’ll start off by sharing some editing do’s and don’ts as well as what to look for when you’re proofreading. In our Practice Corner, we’ll be covering a disease process that has, in some way, touched virtually everyone: cancer. Once you have an overview of cancer, we’ll work on the consultation report. Physicians often ask specialists to further evaluate their patients, especially cancer patients. So this is a common report that you’re likely to transcribe regularly. The assignment for this lesson includes a consult report to transcribe, and you’ll also get to practice proofreading.
Friday – Lesson 10
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 a completely clinical lesson. We’ll talk about classification systems and their transcription foibles. And now that you have the bones of grammar and style down, we’re going to talk about some real bones. We’ll begin by discussing information on fractures and spine levels. Finally, in our Practice Corner, we’ll discuss discharge and death summaries. They are very similar reports, but we’ll take a look at some of their subtle differences.
Wednesday – Lesson 11
This lesson will be similar to the last in that it covers lots of clinical issues. It won’t all be clinical, however. There are a few miscellaneous things that I want to make sure I share with you. They don’t really fit into neat categories, so I’ve put them all here. Once we finish with these miscellaneous items, we’ll jump back into some clinical issues. We’ll be talking specifically about infections. Then we’ll turn our attention to smaller parts of the body—cells and blood. Then, in our Practice Corner, you’ll see how everything you’ve learned can come together in an autopsy report. This is probably the longest, most comprehensive report you’ll ever come across. And, of course, you’ll have the chance to transcribe an autopsy report in the assignment!
Friday – Lesson 12
By now you have the tools and the knowledge you need to dip your toe into the waters of medical transcription. 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 all the different 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 some of the events on the horizon, and you’ll see why this is an exciting time to enter the transcription field. For our final Practice Corner, we’ll look at the Health Story Project. It’s an initiative to develop standards for integrating narrative reports (like the ones you’ve been transcribing) into the electronic medical record in a meaningful way—giving them the ability to be searched and to extrapolate data like we have never been able to do before.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND
It is recommended that students have prior knowledge of medical terminology and touch-typing before enrolling in this course.
On completion of this course, you will receive one qualification:
Medical Transcription Certificate of Completion
A 65% or better must be achieved in order to receive a Certificate of Completion.
About The Instructor
Jennifer Della’Zanna graduated from Albright College in Reading, PA with a Bachelor of Arts degree. With 15 years’ experience in the health care industry, she has worked as a medical transcriptionist, receptionist, medical assistant, practice administrator, biller, and coding specialist. She has written and edited courses and study guides on medical coding, transcription, and using technology in health care. She regularly writes feature articles about health issues for online and print publications. Jennifer is a member of the American Academy of Professional Coders and the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity.
This course is an online course.
A new session of this course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!
How does it work? Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends. Your instructor will guide you through your lessons, facilitate discussions, and answer your questions.
Keep in mind that the interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
There is no experience or previous qualifications required for enrollment on this course. It is available to all students, of all academic backgrounds.
- This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac device.
- PC: Windows XP or later.
- Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
- Browser: The latest version of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, or Safari (We recommend Firefox or Chrome).
- Adobe Flash Player. Click here to download the Flash Player.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
- Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
- Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
“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.”
This course teaches medical terminology from an anatomical approach. Root terms are divided by each body system.
The origin, a combined form, and an example of non-medical everyday usage is provided for each root term. Word Associations are provided as a learning tool. Unusual and interesting information is provided in regards to each term.
Take your first step toward a lucrative career as a medical coder! In this course, you’ll learn how to use the CPT manual and the ICD-10-CM to find medical codes for any disease, condition, treatment, or surgical procedure. This knowledge will help prepare you to work almost anywhere in the medical field—doctors’ offices, clinics, public health facilities, hospitals, labs, nursing homes, insurance agencies, or even the comfort of your own home.