Medical transcription as a career

Photo: M. Periasamy

Photo: M. Periasamy  

EVEN THOUGH an acute shortage of medical transcriptionists (MTs) in the US could mean several thousand jobs here, the work is seen as a low value-adding activity with few growth opportunities. But Surya V. Ciryam, the Vice-President of Human Resources at Health Scribe India (HSI), the largest medical transcription company in India, tells Puja S Navin that it is not so.

"People here are very focussed and keen to learn. The quality, if not better, is on a par with Bangalore," he says.

HSI, which started with 1,000 people with an office at Software Technology Park in Kumaraguru College of Technology two months back, has started thinking of a larger facility and bigger numbers. Already 250 people have been recruited and they are under training.

But is it a long-term career? "What do people look for in a career? Success, happiness and an opportunity to add value. If we create the right human resource practices, give them an opportunity to develop and contribute with the right compensation package, we have the right mix."

He dispels myths regarding career growth. "We have just recognised people who have completed 10 years with us, in a unique initiative - Club Ten. We have a General Manager who joined the company as an MT. This is also true for many production managers. I have seen MTs who have become proofreaders in less than eight months.

There are many growth paths that an MT can take. While vertically, he can grow into a proof-reader followed by account leads, then team leads or production managers, they can also choose other growth paths - like training team leaders, professional developers and also quality assurance managers," he adds.

"There's total openness and opportunity for expression. It is the people who make company policies," he adds. "Take for instance home transcription. It was conceptualised when some women employees had to take a year off. We deliberated and evolved working from home as a solution. Now we have 150 home transcriptionists."

Of course there are challenges. "The job is stressful and could get routine, those are HR challenges." So there is a psychologist and a physical fitness trainer to offload mental and physical strain."

To attract large numbers "we plan to conduct road shows in regions adjoining Coimbatore such as Salem, Trichy, Erode, Pollachi, Palakkad, and Ooty, as people from these regions have a lot of potential.

While a typical profile is that of a graduate, there is no bar on undergraduates.

"Anyone aged between 18 and 45, with excellent comprehension skills in English, strong grammar and an eye for detail, can take up this work. You could be a final year student, an undergraduate, a graduate, a postgraduate, a doctor or just about anyone looking for a career change."

Surya V. Ciryam

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