Barbados has chosen the right path in establishing a training programme for individuals in the medical transcription field – translating from oral to electronic form the record of a person’s medical history, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and outcome.

That is according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs and Development, Mia Mottley, who was speaking today during the official ceremony for the opening of the Medical Transcription Training Centre at Harbour Industrial Park, St. Michael.

Noting that there would always be the need for persons in this field, she said: “This is an industry that is not sensitive to recession, because the one sure thing is, all of us need to see a doctor at some point.  Another sure thing is that a certain percentage of us will be the subject of intensive medical treatment at some point.  Therefore, whether things will be good or bad we will not see a reversion to doctors taking copious notes again, in circumstances where tape recorders are available… for them to be able to record their notes.”

The Minister highlighted the benefits to Barbadians. “It is an industry that affords Barbadians the opportunity of being paid better than the traditional call centre jobs to which we have become accustomed,” she said. 

Ms. Mottley also expressed the wish that with the emergence of the medical transcription field in CARICOM, a change would come in the way things were done in the medical industry by practitioners and hospitals with regard to the maintenance of records as well as in the insurance industry.  

“To the extent that there is a wider economic and social benefit to the establishment of this sector, it is going to be hopefully the raising of this bar within the medical industry within the Caribbean.  Equally, it will also impose obligations I believe on insurance companies who sometimes have not been as meticulous in relation to the compilation, assessment and maintenance of records of patients to appropriately assess their risk and … the structure of their portfolio and I trust that with these skills now being readily available within a geographical landscape there would be an incentive for insurance companies to be able to achieve a greater level of efficiency in their risk assessment, such that they would be able to see how they could better structure their premiums for the average consumer.” 

Training has already begun for 100 students, whose ages range from 16 to 60.  Their programme is based on the approved model curriculum from the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity and will consist of six months of coursework followed by a three month internship programme.  Courses include anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, legal issues in health care documentation, English grammar and punctuation.

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