Professional Development for Healthcare Professions Blog

Monday Technology Tip- Time Zones are Easy

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 @ 06:32 PM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionMedical transcription is about critical thinking. It is about researching to find the answer so that you will be better equipped for the future. One of the saddest questions I hear is this: What time is it in my time zone? We had a tip on this in the past but there are still a lot of questions from students and practitioners on a regular basis.

In a virtual workforce, this is a question that we should never, ever hear. We work remotely, often for a company in another state and for clients in many others. Not knowing how to figure out basic time zones is a failure to think critically.

So we are going to put the issue to rest today.

The latest time is always Eastern Standard Time (EST), next is Central Standard Time (CST), then Mountain Standard Time (MST), and finally the earliest is Pacific Standard Time (PST).

It goes like this:

EST --> CST --> MST --> PST

Every time you move from left to right (the direction of the arrows), you subtract an hour. When going against the arrow, add an hour each time you cross an arrow.

So it would be 4 pm EST, 3 pm CST, 2 pm MST, 1 pm PST.

Pretty simple right?

So figure this one out and reply in the comments. What is 6 am CST in the other time zones?

Topics: Technology Tip

Continuing Education Webinar- Critical Thinking

Posted by Chad Sines on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 @ 01:00 PM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionTitle: Critical Thinking
When: Thurs, Jan 30th 3 PM - 4 PM PST
Presenter: Maggie Thebeault, CMT, AHDI-F
Length: 1 hour | Credits: 1 TW
Cost: $10

Review exercises, tips, and activities designed to explore decision making. Reviewing tools used by critical thinkers. Several interactive practice activities, including editing.

The Critical Thinking continuing education webinar is one which will challenge MTs to think at a higher level. This is a definite must attend.

Join us!! 

Topics: Continuing Education, Webinar

Wednesday Transcription Tip- Grammar Reference Sites

Posted by Chad Sines on Wed, Jan 25, 2012 @ 11:31 AM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionGrammar can be evil. There I said it. Chastise me if you want.

Everyone knows that the Book of Style is your first reference for grammar rules; however, often we need additional information or would simply like to explore certain grammar rules more in depth. Do you know what an interjection or a squinting modifier is? There are a lot of grammar sites, but I do like this one for their examples and clarity. I really learned a lot from the Modifiers section. I actually found it because I use their service to grammar check my papers. 

http://www.grammarly.com/handbook/

 

What grammar sites do you like?

Topics: Transcription Tip

Monday Technology Tip- Basic PC Maintenance

Posted by Chad Sines on Tue, Jan 24, 2012 @ 12:56 PM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionYour computer is your lifeline in this industry. Basic maintenance can keep it running smoothly. Here are three very simple and yet very important things you need to be doing.

  • Have antivirus and firewall software installed and running at all times.

This is not optional. There are plenty of free ones to use. If you are not using antivirus and firewall software, you should not be on the Internet. That may sound harsh, but those without it are often unknowingly helping people harm others due to their machine being compromised

  • Run Scan disk weekly.

Scandisk is a utility that checks your hard drive for issues. These issues can happen when files are deleted, the computer gives you the blue screen of death, or for who knows why. When errors do occur, it can slow down your machine significantly. The process takes 2 minutes to start and you can let it run while you are asleep. Here is a link that explains how to do it. Different versions of Windows look slightly different, but it is similar enough that these instructions work. I run this every Sunday night right before I go to bed as you have to reboot it to deal with any issues. Check both boxes on the options menu (see link), tell it you want to schedule it, reboot, go to bed.

  • Defragment your disk weekly.

Windows has an interesting way of putting files on the drive. It is complex but to make a long story short, the files are not always in one place. They can be spread out over different areas of the disk. Think of the programs as folders with files in it. If those files are scattered out it can take more time to get to them. The process is simple. You can see some graphics and instructions here. Again, run it overnight. You can do it while you are still working if you want. It just takes a while for it to run. Note: Vista and Windows 7 have a feature to do this automatically at a scheduled day/time. More instructions on that are here.

Go ahead and do this and reply below when you have. Once you do it a few weeks, it will become an easy habit.

Topics: Technology Tip

Monday Technology Tip- Basic PC Maintenance

Posted by Chad Sines on Tue, Jan 24, 2012 @ 12:56 PM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionYour computer is your lifelines in this industry. Basic maintenance can keep it running smoothly. Here are three very simple and yet very important things you need to be doing.

  • Have antivirus and firewall software installed and running at all times.

This is not optional. There are plenty of free ones to use. If you are not using antivirus and firewall software, you should not be on the Internet.

  • Run Scan disk weekly.

Scandisk is a utility that checks your hard drive for issues. These issues can happen when files are deleted, the computer gives you the blue screen of death, or for who knows why. When errors do occur, it can slow down your machine significantly. The process takes 2 minutes to start and you can let it run while you are asleep. Here is a link that explains how to do it. Different versions of Windows look slightly different, but it is similar enough that these instructions work. I run this every Sunday night right before I go to bed as you have to reboot it to deal with any issues. Check both boxes on the options (see link), tell it you want to schedule it, reboot, go to bed.

  • Defragment your disk weekly.

Windows has an interesting way of putting files on the drive. It is complex but to make a long story short, the files are not always in one place. They can be spread out over different areas of the disk. Think of the programs as folders with files in it. If those files are scattered out it can take more time to get to them. The process is simple. You can see some graphics and instructions here. Again, run it overnight. You can do it while you are still working if you want. It just takes a while. Note: Vista and Windows 7 have a feature to do this automatically at a scheduled day/time. More instructions on that are here.

Go ahead and do this and reply below when you have. Once you do it a few weeks, it will become an easy habit.

Topics: Technology Tip

Continuing Education Webinar- BOS Specialty Standards 2

Posted by Chad Sines on Sun, Jan 22, 2012 @ 01:00 PM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionTitle: BOS Specialty Standards Part 2
When: Thurs, Jan 26 th10 AM - 11 PM PST
Presenter:  Angela Allison, CMT
Length: 1 hour | Credits: 1 MTT
Cost: $10

A review of specialty standards using the Book of Style reference, including cardiology, hematology/oncology, pharmacology, dermatology, immunology, organisms and bacteria, and more.

This continuing education series is without a doubt one of our most popular. No one leaves without learning something, whether they are a student, new MT, or have been in the industry for decades. Join us!! 

Topics: Continuing Education, Webinar

Wednesday Transcription Tip- Brand vs Generic

Posted by Chad Sines on Wed, Jan 18, 2012 @ 10:38 AM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionThis tip idea came from Brenda Dorsett, CMT, our credentialing instructor. She suggested explaining the difference between a brand and generic. 

Are brand-named drugs and generics the same? The brands suggest no, the discount brands say yes. So what is the difference and why the extreme price range? 

The active ingredient is the same in both. The dose is the same in both. The FDA also states that the generics must meet the same standards of dosage and availability as brand names. Some pharmacologists (researchers of drugs) will disagree. I spoke with one a couple of years ago who felt that there were subtle manufacturing differences, i.e. harder pills not dissolving as easy as others, but the FDA does refute that claim. 

Generics are cheaper because the companies making them are profiting off the trials of the brand name companies. The brand name companies expend a lot of money to develop drugs and only a fraction ever make it to market. When I was doing biomedical research it was interesting to see some of the technology ($$) used to test a lot of chemicals for possible drug applications. If you got lucky, you tested it on some kind of lab animal ($$$), and if that went well you tested it on people. Think lots of $$$$. If you were really lucky, you had a new drug. The process is truly fascinating and, take my word for it, very expensive. Those costs are reflected in the price. This is a main reason why these manufacturers receive an exclusive patent for 20 years. Sometimes these are extended. 

When the patent expires, companies can petition the FDA to allow them to make a generic. Essentially they have a working drug and know how to make it. No drug research, no testing. Just manufacturing. What is really interesting is that often the brand companies are also making generics. 

Hopefully you all know to capitalize brand names and not to capitalize the generics. 

The FDA has a link to let you know which medications recently went generic. You can see it here.

Topics: Transcription Tip

Continuing Education Webinar- Fundamentals of Dermatology

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, Jan 16, 2012 @ 01:00 PM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionTitle: Fundamentals of Dermatology
When: Fri, Jan 20th 12 PM - 1 PM PST
Presenter:  Diane Gilmore, CMT
Length: 1 hour | Credits: 1 CM (pending)
Cost: $10

Dermatology is the branch of medicine that specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases and its ancillary structures, from simple cosmetic problems to life-threatening diseases and disorders.  This illustrative webinar covers the anatomy of skin and its underlying structures, common cutaneous diseases and disorders (including burns and skin cancer) and the most up-to-date modalities used by dermatologists to diagnose and treat skin disorders.

This is a new continuing education webinar. Join us!!

Topics: Continuing Education, Webinar

Monday Technology Tip- Facebook and Click Jacking

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, Jan 16, 2012 @ 11:59 AM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionA few of my Facebook friends posted links on Facebook that took anyone who clicked them to malware sites. The link claimed to offer free airline tickets. What makes it even more interesting is that they most likely have no idea they went to a malware site or that they shared the link. So before I get started explaining the issue, I will say this. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Do not click it. Do not share it.

Click jacking (there are other names, but I like this one) refers to a technique where some snot head (it seemed appropriate to censor the word I wanted to use) gets you to click a link thinking you are going to one place when in reality, it is taking you to something else and/or it is performing other actions that you did not intend to happen. It might add it as a “like” to Facebook or make some post for you that you did not want made. It might be a stupid prank or it might be a malware site.

So here is what happens:
  • You see a link on someone’s Facebook offering something free. You click it and are taken to some kind of website that could benign or have malware/viruses.
  • You may also see a link to a video. When you get to the page, you have to click the video to show it. Clicking the video (which is really just an image designed to trick you to click it) performs an action due to a Facebook explout.
Scenario 1- No real harm
Something you click on that page is linked to the “like” button that you normally click. Often it is a picture disquised as a video you click to play. What ends up happening is that you share that link to a site on your Facebook page without even knowing it. Often this is just to goof with people and no harm is done. Still it propagates useless links.

Fix: This will probably happen at some time to you. All you do is go back to your wall and delete the post. Also you need to go into your account settings and delete it from your profile. What happens is when you like certain things, it is added to your profile as an interest. So later down the line, someone might click it. Sneaky huh?? Facebook has this feature so that when you like a page of a product, music group, etc, it can more fully expand your profile. Just check it periodically.

Scenario 2- You might be toast
This is the scenario I saw this weekend. You click the link for those awesome free airline tickets and it takes you to a website to get them..Sounds cool so far. Problem is this: 1) That site has malware on it. Many sites with malware can automatically mess with your computer and that is serious bad news depending on what it is designed to do. Some antivirus catch this, some do not. 2) It makes a post on Facebook using your name and you unknowingly invite your friends to the slaughter.

Fix: Have a good antivirus installed. I admit I did click the button just to see what the scam was and my free AVG lit up like a Christmas tree blocking it. If you do not have antivirus, you should not be on the Internet or sharing anything with anyone ever. No excuses here. Not having antivirus is irresponsible and asking for trouble especially since you can get quality antivirus protection for free. Get AVG Free (no affiliation, just one I personally use because it is free and high quality) if you have nothing. I use it over commercial ones and have also used their pay version as well. If you were careless and clicked a link you knew was too good to be true and you received a warning, then immediately check your Facebook page to be sure it did not post for you. Scan your computer as well. Also message the person who had that link and tell them to delete their link to malware.

Facebook is awesome, mostly. Still it is not perfect and you cannot always trust things that your friends post because as you can see, it may not be them.

So the big take away is this:
  1. Either install antivirus, update regularly, and scan regularly (like daily) or never get on the Internet or share files with anyone.
  2. Do not click links that sound too good to be true. This take away will not help in all ways as even a picture or video can be link jacked, but it will help somewhat. At least use caution. 

Topics: Technology Tip

Continuing Education Webinar- BOS Specialty Standards I

Posted by Chad Sines on Sun, Jan 15, 2012 @ 01:00 PM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionTitle: BOS Specialty Standards Part 1
When: Thurs, Jan 19th 10 AM - 11 PM PST
Presenter:  Angela Allison, CMT
Length: 1 hour | Credits: 1 MTT
Cost: $10

A review of specialty standards using the Book of Style reference, including cardiology, hematology/oncology, pharmacology, dermatology, immunology, organisms and bacteria, and more.

This continuing education series is without a doubt one of our most popular. No one leaves without learning something, whether they are a student, new MT, or have been in the industry for decades. Join us!! 

Topics: Continuing Education, Webinar

The True Cost of Medical Transcription Training- Part 2

Posted by Chad Sines on Fri, Jan 13, 2012 @ 03:59 PM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionDue to the length of this article, it is being split into two parts. Part one can be found here and should be read first. 

Credentialed Instructors
A premium medical transcription training program uses all CMT instructors for all MT-related instruction. Period. No excuses. Here is a very common way programs cut costs for their program. Sadly, it is not uncommon to see instructors with no MT credentials at all. My analogy is simple. Would you allow your child to be treated by a physician who received his/her medical training from someone who could not get his/her medical credentials? Not me. Would you want to pay for training for you that is taught by those would cannot/will not demonstrate their mastery of the profession or would you rather train with CMT instructors?

CMT Program Director
A premium medical transcription training program has a current program director who is a CMT. This person is responsible for the development and maintenance of the program. Everything revolves around the program. A past developer who was a CMT does not cut it. Does the program have a current program director who is a CMT?

Real Textbooks
A premium medical transcription training program uses real, current edition medical-grade textbooks. These books are expensive and are a substantial cost of the course. Many program offering “discounted” tuition rates use company-prepared pamphlets or other non-textbook materials. They save a lot of money, charge you less, and you…well..you get a print out. While these might make for decent supplemental material, it is hard to understand why a quality program would not use industry-proven textbooks. So ask them about their materials.

Paid Internship
A premium medical transcription training program offers a paid internship at industry rates. A paid internship is a rarity in this industry. In my personal opinion, there is no other marker of a school’s confidence in their medical transcription training program than when they have you work on their production company’s live accounts and actually pay you for it. These schools are putting you on accounts that they would lose if their training was subpar. Currently I can count on a couple fingers programs that offer this. Med-Line’s paid internship is so popular students from other programs contact us to request to be a part of it; however, it is only available to our expertly trained students.

RMT Preparation
A premium medical transcription training program promotes the RMT exam as necessary for all students. It provides credentialing training at no cost for students. Med-Line offers credentialing preparation as part of its course at no cost. We know the value of this credential and know that graduates with the RMT are better positioned for placement and advancement, not to mention our graduates have a high pass rate. 

Individualized Job Placement
A premium medical transcription training program offers individualized job placement. A high quality medical transcription school that trains you to the acute care level has little difficulty placing their graduates. Others often hand you a list of companies that have agreed to talk with their graduates and scoot you out of the door to find your own job. This is when you hear that common phrase “two to three years’ experience required.” Schools with a stellar reputation have contacts to bypass this requirement and actively work to get you placed. This is an area Med-Line also excels in. The industry knows the high caliber of our students.


So there you have it. The difference between a premium medical transcription training program like Med-line and a subpar program is extensive. The price tag alone does not tell the whole story. The goal of any student is to position themselves for current and future success in the job market. This is the goal of Med-Line and the reason behind our success and name recognition in the industry.

So train at Med-Line and succeed.

You Get What You Pay For- True Cost of Medical Transcription Training

Posted by Chad Sines on Fri, Jan 13, 2012 @ 03:56 PM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionDue to the length of this article, it is being split into two parts.

A routine question that I hear when speaking to prospective students is why some programs cost less than others. They see the lower price tag as a better value. But like most things in life you get what you pay for or more precisely, you do not get what you do not pay for. Regrettably, many prospective students simply look at the price and not at what the school is offering. It is time to explain the difference between a premium medical transcription training program and the lower caliber programs. What is really sad is the fact that many subpar programs charge the same or more than a premium program like Med-Line School of Medical Transcription.

ACCP/AHDI-Approved Program
A premium medical transcription training program is AHDI/ACCP approved. This is step one in vetting a school. If a school’s program is not ACCP/AHDI approved, it is time to remove them from consideration. Employers know which schools are and are not approved. Although we at Med-Line think the ACCP/AHDI requirements are too simple and have actively pushed to have them strengthened, they are a decent first phase weeding out criteria. This is currently the ONLY objective tool a potential student has to determine a school’s potential and it is purely voluntary. There is no governmental agency mandating a certain standard. This approval process looks at the school’s financing, instructors, curriculum, etc and determines if it is reasonable. Hopefully soon, it will require all the additional tests you will read below. Med-Line is approved and will continue to push to have the bar raised.

Acute Care Training
A premium medical transcription training program teaches to the acute care level. The goal of training is for the student to be employable now and in the future. It is time to face it. The industry is not seeking clinic work MTs. There is little to no demand for them. Acute care-trained MTs, however, are in high demand. Just visit a few job boards, talk to some recruiters, and you will quickly see that acute care MTs are in high demand and many/most companies are not only hiring but have a strong need for these people now. Schools often train to the clinic work level in order to get their students out in 6 months or so. Acute care training is going to take 18 months on average. So that quick program is actually not a bargain after all. Med-Line only trains to the acute care level because that is what the industry needs.

Program Length
A premium medical transcription training program is at least 12, preferably 18 months. As indicated above, there is no shortage of short programs (under 12 months). If you want to gauge the true cost of their program, divide the cost by the number of months. I had a student who was going to sign with another school that offered a 6-month course at $500 less. When she did the math she realized she would be paying almost 3 times as much per month for training that was not going to take her to the acute care level and, not surprising no textbooks were to be provided. So do not fall for the myth of a short program, train at a program that will prepare you for your career. Med-Line takes, on average, 18 months to complete. That is something we are proud of.

Real, Human Instructors
A premium medical transcription training program has real humans and not computers to instruct their students. Cutting instructors is an excellent way to reduce expenses immediately except that it reduces the time you can spend with students. You can easily find out if the school passes muster by asking how many current students and how many human instructors there are. It is not uncommon for subpar program to have ratios of 1:100 or higher. At Med-Line, you are assigned a real human CMT instructor for every medical transcription course who you can contact for questions.

Continue to part two.

Topics: Medical Transcription Training

Monday Technology Tip- To upgrade or not to upgrade

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, Jan 09, 2012 @ 06:05 PM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionFor those currently still in their medical transcription training, this tip may be more useful upon graduation; however, it is helpful now as well. Be careful in your decisions to upgrade hardware and software. Many MTSOs (medical transcription service organizations) do not update their platforms as quickly as new technology evolves. Despite the fact that we have seen Vista and Windows 7 (and have rumors of the next coming out), there are still quite a few using Windows XP. What this means to you is that if you have Vista or 7, there is a good chance your computer will not work on their platform unless you downgrade. The same is true of newer Internet Explore editions. Many laptops now come with a 64-bit operating system which is also incompatible with many platforms. If you are a working MT and using your own computer, be sure to contact the company’s tech support before upgrading hardware and software. 

Here is the good news…there is a high likelihood that your computer is perfectly fine and there is no urgent need to upgrade. Often those who are in their medical transcription training phase and practicing MTs seek to buy that new machine as quickly as possible. Most programs MT use are not resource intensive, so older computers are perfectly fine. Sure you can upgrade, but you can also continue to get a lot of use out of an older machine. Just some food for thought.

Topics: Technology Tip

Continuing Education Webinar- Facebook for the Professional

Posted by Chad Sines on Fri, Jan 06, 2012 @ 01:00 PM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionTitle: Facebook for the Professional
When: Tues, Jan 10, 2012 5 PM - 6 PM PST
Presenter:  Chad Sines, MS, MBA, AHDI-F
Length: 1 hour
Credits: 1 TW
Cost: $10 

Facebook is a tool that is a near necessity for a virtual workforce determined to network with other professionals, for businesses looking to market products and services to individuals, and for components to reach potential members. Learn how to use Facebook for personal, professional, and businesses purposes.

This is one of our most popular continuing education technology webinars. It is a great introduction to Facebook and focuses both on business and personal uses of the technology. 

Join us!!

Topics: Continuing Education, Webinar

Wednesday Transcription Tip- Student Resolutions

Posted by Chad Sines on Wed, Jan 04, 2012 @ 11:46 AM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionToday is time for a new year’s resolution for student MTs. I will keep these simple and straightforward. If you meet these three resolutions, you will be miles ahead.

In 2012:
  • Strive to accept criticism and feedback as positive reinforcement. It is a prevention of bad habits that would harm your professional career down the road. Your QA, mentor, instructor is your ally. They are not your enemy. Their correction is a benefit if you accept and act upon it.
  • Be a constant learner. The more you learn, the more you set yourself apart. Take advantage of continuing education. It is free for current Med-Line students. 
  • Begin to develop professional work habits. Do you have a professional email address? Do your emails to instructors read as a conversation between two professionals? Do you provide quality consistent work?
Well, there you have it. I hope you will include these three resolutions in your list. They are simple yet powerful. 

Let’s make 2012 a great year.

Topics: Professional Development, Transcription Tip

Continuing Education Webinar- Facebook for the Professional

Posted by Chad Sines on Tue, Jan 03, 2012 @ 05:00 PM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionTitle: MS Outlook 2010
When: Fri, Jan 6, 2012 3 PM - 4 PM PST
Presenter:  Chad Sines, MS, MBA, AHDI-F
Length: 1 hour
Credits: 1 TW
Cost: $10 

Working in a virtual environment requires professionals to use email as a near primary means of communication. With the ability to schedule appointments, track tasks, sort emails, and even automate contact management, Outlook is a must know. Attendees will learn how to set up a POP/IMAP email account, create tasks, create appointments, and sort mail using filtering options. Although the skills learned are applicable to all versions of Outlook, the presentation will show it for Outlook 2010. 

Outlook is a must know for those working in a virtual environment. While it may seem daunting, this webinar will show you a step-by-step way to begin using Outlook.

Topics: Continuing Education, Webinar

Monday Technology Tip- The Year of Technology

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, Jan 02, 2012 @ 11:15 AM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionHappy new year!! Welcome to the first Monday technology tip for 2012. This is typically the time when we all make new year resolutions. Some we keep, most we do not. Today I would like for you to make an easy-to-keep resolution. Learn more about technology. This industry is teeming with technology. The ones who know the technology are the ones controlling the direction of the profession, not to mention reaping the most rewards. It is so much easier and more fun to be ahead of the curve. Sadly, most MTs in my experience are not that knowledgeable about technology. This is something Med-Line has been working hard to address in premium medical transcription training program. We have a large assortment of technology training so that our students are well ahead of the majority. 

So how can you keep this resolution? We are going to have at least two technology webinars a month for 2012, so register for both of them each month. For January, we are doing MS Outlook and Facebook for the professional. These are two very popular webinars. Current students attend for free (you all have the links in the email I send you each month). Those who are not students can register at http://www.medlineschool.com/webinars

I am aiming for at least one Microsoft Office webinar a month until we complete the entire office suite. This is the most critical software that you need to know. I am also going to do one social media one each month since these are excellent tools for professional growth (communication with friends and family), business opportunities (resume sharing, get your name out), and professional development in general (keep up with healthcare trends, know what is going on out there). If there are other technologies you want to learn, email me at csines@medlineschool.com, so that I can get something created for it.

 

Now go register for those webinars!!

Topics: Technology Tip, Continuing Education