Many people wonder what the future of the medical transcription industry will look like when doctors, healthcare facilities and other organizations start to use advanced technologies. Even though technology is evolving at a rapid pace and medical transcriptionists must know how to use the latest software programs, digital devices and other machines to do their work accurately, demand for these skills may become obsolete with the adaptation of voice recognition software programs.

However, the knowledge and skills that medical transcriptionists have acquired throughout their careers can still help them find and secure jobs. Job roles and responsibilities may entail more editing and organizing of data, rather than simply transcribing dictations. Here's a close look at the career outlook for medical transcriptionists, and what the future of the medical transcription industry might look like.

What Does the Future of the Medical Transcription Industry Look Like?

The future of the medical transcription industry looks fairly positive, but demand for skilled medical transcriptionists to transcribe dictations may decrease as technology replaces the need for human transcribers. Currently, medical transcriptionists are responsible for capturing information from a dictation or other type of recording, and creating accurate reports with this information. Medical transcriptionists may work with various types of computer software programs and technologies to create these reports. When these activities are replaced by computers and software programs like voice recognition software, medical transcription services may become obsolete.

Still, the future of the medical transcription industry doesn't necessarily mean that demand for medical transcriptionists will go away. These professionals may be hired to provide editing services, review documents and reports, and perform other duties that cannot be completed by a machine. The human element of data processing and editing will still exist, so there may still be plenty of opportunities for a medical transcriptionist who wants to continue working in this field.

Career Outlook

Employment of medical transcriptionists is about to grow about as fast as the average as other positions and fields. It is estimated that employment will grow by 11 percent from 2008 to 2018, and demand for these types of services will be driven primarily because of the growing aging population that relies on healthcare services. There will be a continued need for the production of electronic documents, and transcriptionists may need to adapt to new technologies and software programs, including speech recognition systems. Many companies overseas are looking to contract out a good portion of their projects and transcriptionists will need to use various types of web-based programs and software to remit their reports.

While some healthcare organizations and doctors are already using speech recognition software to create their reports, these are rarely 100 percent accurate and require some editing and reorganization. This is where a medical transcriptionist can still use their skills. They can correct errors, edit information and reorganize data as needed. Projections data for employed medical transcriptionists is 105,000 as of 2008 and 116,000 by 2018. The majority currently work in medical and diagnostic laboratories, general medical and surgical hospitals, outpatient care centers, physicians' offices and by providing business support services.