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Medical Transcription Program Has New Name
July 30, 2014

Walters State’s medical transcription program has a new name, the Healthcare Documentation Specialist Certificate.

The new title reflects many changes in the industry and the program. Future graduates will be prepared to edit documents transcribed by voice recognition software instead of just typing notes dictated by doctors and other health care professionals.

“More healthcare providers and facilities are turning to electronic health records. That often includes a switch to voice recognition software,” said Gail Winkler, HRIT, head of Walters State’s Health Information Program.

The healthcare documentation specialist has a little more responsibility. Just like medical transcriptions, this new title still requires a great deal of self-discipline and motivation. Winkler said the traits are so important because most graduates will be working from home.

“The vast majority of these graduates will work at home and that’s a big plus for many people,” Winkler said.

The certificate takes two, full-time semesters to complete, and all classes are directly connected to the field. General education courses like math and English composition aren’t required. Should students want to earn a degree in addition to the certificate, many classes will apply to an associate of applied science in health information technology.

Graduates serve as editors, going over what has been transcribed by voice recognition software. Students still learn coding and medical terminology – musts for the field.

“Even with the best voice recognition software, sometimes the computer doesn’t understand the doctor or may choose the wrong word. The healthcare documentation specialist makes sure everything is correct,” Winkler said.

The classes are hybrid, meaning that some work is completed in a traditional classroom, while others are done online.

The demand is growing for individuals with these skills. Winkler says she fielded a call this summer from a Knoxville firm looking to hire 20 individuals.

For more information, contact Winkler at (423) 585-6990 or Gail.Winkler@ws.edu.