I was doing my usual browsing through the internet for medical transcription topics when I ran across this self-serving article – and just couldn’t hold my tongue. (And do you notice how the MT in this article starts work at 7 a.m. and doesn’t finish until 10 p.m.? At least THAT part is realistic!)
I submit for you the more realistic scenario… absent any sales pitches for a medical transcription education.
6:40 a.m. Five minutes before her alarm is set to go off, SusieMT wakes to the sound of children fighting over cereal. She’s been working long hours all week, trying to make her minimum line count and pay the bills, and hasn’t had time to go to the grocery store. The 6-year-old and the 8-year-old are fighting over the last bowl of Sugar Frosted Flakies. From the sounds of it, the 8-year-old is winning, which makes sense because he’s older and bigger. She gets up to settle the fight between the children and tells them to hurry up – they need to get ready for school. The 6-year-old tries to convince her that he’s sick and can’t go to school today, but she’s not buying it. She reiterates that they need to hurry up and eat breakfast or they’ll be late for school. She goes back to her bedroom and throws on a t-shirt and sweatpants, scrapes her hair into a ponytail and hopes that she’ll have time for a shower sometime today.
7:30 a.m. After more than 45 minutes of wrangling children through their morning routine, SusieMT runs them to school and then returns home. She looks longingly at the bed, but her official work shift begins at 8 a.m. Instead, she starts a pot of coffee and eats the rest of the cold cereal and milk the children left behind.
7:55 a.m. SusieMT starts up her computer and finds two e-mails from her supervisor. The first is reminding her that she has been assigned a standard shift and she needs to work during those hours. She is not authorized to work overtime. The next e-mail is a beg-o-gram, advising that the Hospital Z account is backlogged and asking all available MTs to help catch up on this account. SusieMT has not been authorized to work on the Hospital Z account, although she has asked more than once because they seem to be backed up frequently, while the accounts she is authorized to work on never have enough work.
8 a.m. SusieMT logs into her employer’s secure transcription platform and checks the work queue. The majority of dictation in her queue is dictation from Dr. Marblemouth, a disorganized, mumbling dictator who is like poison to a transcriptionist’s production. The rest consists of what SusieMT calls the Motley Crew, an assortment of the worst dictators for every account SusieMT has been assigned. She checks the dictation time; all the dictation is from yesterday. How can that be? She sat on the work queue well into the night and there was little to no dictation in any of the accounts she’d been assigned. She’s desperate for lines, but this ragtag assortment isn’t going to do much for her line count.
8:15 SusieMT decides to send another request to the supervisor, asking that she be authorized to work on Hospital Z’s account. While she’s doing that, she finds yet another e-mail from her supervisor. This one is advising her work group that the overseas transcription unit was unable to complete a volume of dictation due to difficulty with the dictators and the medical trancriptionists in this group need to jump on it right away before it goes out of turnaround. She sends an e-mail to the supervisor, requesting again that she be authorized to work on Hospital Z. She marks it as urgent. She returns to her assigned work and digs in. It’s all there is and lines are lines.
10:30 a.m. By this time, SusieMT is not just ready for a break – she’s ready to break something. In a little over 2 hours, she’s managed to get a mere 400 lines done. At a pay rate of 7 cents per line, she’s made a whopping $12.50 per hour, and there still isn’t any other work in her queue. She’s checked all her accounts half a dozen times, as well as her e-mail, hoping that finally her supervisor is going to respond to her request to work on Hospital Z, which apparently has plenty of work and hopefully hasn’t been cherry-picked. With no response from the supervisor (on that topic, at least), she cleans the kitchen and starts the laundry during her “break.”
10:45 a.m. With the house a little cleaner, SusieMT returns to her desk, still frustrated. The dictation in her queue is still primarily from the Motley Crew of dictators, but there is some dictation from better dictators coming in. For a moment, she hesitates, then says to hell with it and bypasses the Motley Crew to grab the other dictation coming in.
12:30 a.m. SusieMT takes another break to do some more laundry and grab a PB&J sandwich. She eats it at her desk while checking out the online medical transcription communities for job opportunities. All she finds are similar complaints: low work volume, production-killing dictators, production-killing platforms, long work hours, poor management and lack of communication. She starts to think maybe getting her own accounts is the way to go – at least then she’d be in control of her destiny.
1:00 p.m. SusieMT is back at the computer, still fighting for what little dictation is in the queue and trying to avoid the worst dictators without really being labeled a cherry picker. Another beg-o-gram from the supervisor about Hospital Z, which is still backlogged. Another request from SusieMT to be allowed to work on Hospital Z.
2:00 p.m. It’s almost time for the kids to get home from school and SusieMT is still battling to get in her minimum line requirement for the day. Volume of dictation in the queue is picking up, but the Motley Crew dictation from yesterday is still sitting there at the top of the queue. She gets a message from QA, telling her she’s sending too many jobs to QA. She says to hell with it and cherry picks through the next hour, cranking out almost as many lines in that one hour than she’s been able to do the entire rest of the day. She still hasn’t met her quota and she still has more hours to put on the clock.
4:00 p.m. The children are home from school and SusieMT’s shift is officially over. She’s still short 200 lines on her quota, not to mention the fact that she needs to get in extra lines so she can make ends meet.
9 p.m. After fixing dinner, helping children with homework, finishing the laundry, bathing the children and putting them to bed, SusieMT logs back in to see if she can pick up more lines before she falls asleep in front of the computer. There’s an e-mail from the second-shift supervisor, demanding to know why she isn’t doing the Hospital Z account, which is still backlogged. She responds, telling yet another supervisor that she’s made numerous requests to be put on that account and she hasn’t received a response.
11 p.m. No longer able to stay awake, SusieMT shuts down the computer. Still no response to any supervisor about the Hospital Z account. She got in her required lines and a few more, but unless things improve, it’s going to be another lean month. She realizes that not only did she not shower, she didn’t get to the grocery store, either. To hell with it, she thinks as she falls into bed. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.