US medical transcription opportunities for Barbadians

BARBADOS – Some Barbadians will soon get the opportunity to work in the medical transcription industry; a billion dollar business in the United States.

Barbados Minister of Economic Affairs and Development, Mia Amor Mottley, announced the government’s plans to provide training for 500 Barbadians over the next three years, at a cost of approximately nine million dollars to equip them with the know-how to provide medical transcription services. Invest Barbados and the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) will be responsible for carrying out this project.

Speaking of the need for Barbados to get involved in this sector she said, “This is an industry that is growing at the rate of 12% per annum in the United States of America; and has been identified by the US Bureau of Legal Statistics as one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. We have already seen signs of companies out-sourcing to India over the last few years and we felt that it was appropriate for Barbados to get into this industry; largely because it has a higher average pay than your normal data centre industries.“

She added, “We felt that given Barbados’ educational profile and our telecommunications structure, to the extent to which our rates have come down so significantly in the last three years that we would be well placed to be able to develop this as a core competency in terms of our industrial structure.“

Noting that “the industry grosses in excess of US $12 billion a year” and persons are paid per line (about 16 cents per line) she said that those who established a certain level of proficiency and competence could earn as much as $3200.00 per month, which was greater than what was earned currently in the informatics sector.

Medical transcription is the act of translating from voice to electronic form, the record of a patient’s medical history, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and outcome. This allows the storage of the individual’s health history, so that it could be accessed by doctors and other health care providers. Medical transcriptionist must be highly skilled and accurate since their effectiveness ensures high quality care. A benchmark of 98% accuracy is needed in carrying out these services.

Training for Barbadians interested in medical transcription will be six months, with a three month apprenticeship following. Ms Mottley revealed that during the apprenticeship period, there would be “a limited earning capacity, because individuals will get the opportunity to work on some live files”.

Stating that the qualifications to pursue this field was less than required to enter in the public service, Ms. Mottley said that persons qualifying for training must possess three CXC subjects, one of which must be English. The person must also have keyboarding skills.

Work done by Barbadians will come from hospitals and clinics in the USA.

Starting Monday, June 18, at 10:00 a.m. and again at 7:00 p.m., Barbadians will get the opportunity to learn more about medical transcription, as Invest Barbados and the BIDC host a free seminar at the Sherbourne Conference Centre.

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