Telecommuting: Medical Billing or Medical Transcription

by Rosalind Mays

Question I recently received in an e-mail

Someone told me that if I wanted to work from home, I should seriously look into Medical Billing or Medical Transcription. They said the money is great and I can do this from home. What do you think?

My Answer

When you can find a job with specialized skills such as medical knowledge or terminology, you're on the road to telecommuting success. I constantly advise job hunters that the quickest way to find an at-home job is to acquire a specialized skill that is in demand!

However, you have asked me a two-part question because medical billing and medical transcription are two entirely different fields. I've researched both thoroughly and came up with some answers.

Examining Medical Billing

I have found that the promise in the field of medical billing is not what it's cracked up to be. Before investing in any medical billing and claims offers, call medical offices listed in your local yellow pages and ask them several questions:

1. What type of billing service do you use?

2. What software do you use?

3. Do any of your employees telecommute?

4. Do you use an independent billing service and can I have that number?

Now, call the independent billing service number and ask them questions 1 through 3.

Finally, call insurance agencies (using the yellow pages once again) and ask them the exact same questions.

Most likely you will find disappointing answers. You may find that there are large medical billings and claims facilities that do nothing but process billing and claims and most doctors and insurance agencies use these companies. You may find that the software used by these billing companies is custom designed and programmed. You may find that this software costs anywhere from $699 to tens of thousands of dollars. You may even find that many medical offices wouldn't even think of sending or storing confidential medical information to someone's home.

Think about this for a moment, would you feel comfortable if your medical facility, your doctor or psychologist sent your personal confidential medical and mental information over the internet, over the phone or in writing to the hands of some stranger's home? Would you want your information sitting on the desk of someone's home for anyone to see? Let's go further with this scenario, if someone's medical information got out into the wrong hands (the media or whomever) that institution or that doctor would be sued. And in my opinion the patient would be in his/her full rights to do so!

I'm not saying that one cannot create a successful home-based medical billing service. I am sure that there is someone out there doing just that. But I can also say with great assurance that creating a medical billing home business is not as easy as many of the courses, books and other advertised programs state. From my research, it seems the ones that are most successful in this venture had worked in medical billing as "employees" and had several contacts in the medical field before diving into the medical claims business.

About Medical Transcription

Now here is a home job with potential! I personally know several people making a living doing this type of work.

My advice is not to look for an "online" medical transcription course. Instead, look to your community college, which have these courses available. It's cheaper and they are very thorough with the subject matter. Then, I suggest contacting other people currently doing medical transcription and ask them all the questions that come to mind.

FIRST STEP: Contact all the community colleges near you and find out if they offer medical transcription courses, or better yet a certificate program. Don't stop at community colleges though, call your state university, call any university extension course department and ask them about medical terminology and medical transcription.

SECOND STEP: Check out these places that lists online courses nationwide.

Colleges and Programs Offering Distance Learning Indexed by institution, courses and programs.

Directory of Online courses A complete indexed source of 3700+ courses offer online by 120 accredited course providers offering college level courses.

THIRD STEP: After having a clear idea what information is offered at community colleges, state colleges and online programs, you should visit places that promise such training. Please understand, that I am not endorsing the sites below for medical transcription training. I know nothing about these companies and whether they are legitimate or not. This is for you to research and decide.

Medical Transcription Education Center Inc.

Also check out:

Medical Transcription Daily

Ultimately, the greatest benefit to working as a medical transcriptionist would be if you created your own home business within this field, servicing several people simultaneously. Being employed is safe and nice, but the real money is in contracting your services out to as many people as you can comfortably service. But that's a subject for another article.

Happy Hunting.

Rosalind Mays is the author of Telecommuting Millionaire?"

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