My best friend is in the process of selling her medical transcription business and since times are economically tough, I thought I would look into this venture and see if it was worth my while to invest in it. Having had almost no experience whatsoever in this line of work, I paid my friend a visit to see the process in live action. She was gracious enough to take me step by step through each little detail from how she actually got the business in the first place to the very end product that she hand delivers to each doctor’s office.
One would never have thought that such a task could be so labor intensive and tedious. There were certain forms she used that were specific to patients and/or doctors. Then there was the listening and comprehension part. That can be a challenge at best with a normal American English speaking doctor but try understanding a doctor who has a Pakistani accent or a Chinese accent and you’ve just compounded your problems. Throw in some of those strange doctor words and along with that mile long pharmaceutical words and you’ve got yourself some alphabet soup mixed up with some ear jam. That will send your brain into a tizzy quickly.
My friend quickly recognized that glazed deer in the headlights look I had the first time I tried it. While laughing at me, my dear friend told me how to reverse the tape back so that I could listen to it again. There’s also a neat little button that will slow down the tape speed to something that could possibly be understood with an English linguist translator. I had to ask her how she managed to even comprehend that Indian dude who was a general practitioner, because there was no way I would have even begun to guess that he had spoken a word of English.
After a while of letting me struggle at it (and laughing at me the whole time), my friend introduced me to her dictionary. This is a computer file that she has created that lists out most of the common pharmaceuticals that the doctors prescribe. Great, I thought. That should solve most of my problems, until I realized that I can’t even recognize the first letter of that drug in order to look it up. She whipped out a cute little purple customized flash drive and loaded it up with the dictionary. She handed me a tape and made me sware to bring it back to her along with the transcribing machine that she lent me. “Go have fun and give it a whirl. Send me your files and I’ll review them.”
I went home and plugged in that preloaded flash drive. She had purchased bulk USB flash drives with the business logo on it and telephone number and had given a lot of them out as corporate Christmas gifts to the doctors’ offices that she serves. The key drive had the dictionary and the various forms already loaded on it and I was soon on my way to learning how to listen a whole different way. After many hours of struggling thru one tape, I loaded up the transcriptions that I had completed on that cute USB flash drive and gave it back to her with the firm answer of “No, this business is not for me. Thanks.”