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EKG vs Healthcare Documentation Specialist

EKG vs Healthcare Documentation Specialist

In the world of healthcare, there are a variety of specialized roles that play a crucial part in providing quality patient care. Two such positions are that of an EKG technician and a healthcare documentation specialist. While both of these careers are in the healthcare field, they have distinct differences in terms of job responsibilities, education and training requirements, and career outlook. In this blog post, we will explore the similarities and differences between an EKG technician and a healthcare documentation specialist, so you can have a better understanding of which path may be the right fit for you.

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Introduction

Before diving into the details, let's start with a brief overview of what an EKG technician and a healthcare documentation specialist actually do.

An EKG technician is a healthcare professional who specializes in performing electrocardiogram (EKG) tests on patients. These tests are used to monitor the electrical activity of the heart and help doctors diagnose and treat various cardiac conditions.

On the other hand, a healthcare documentation specialist, also known as a medical transcriptionist, is responsible for transcribing and editing medical reports dictated by healthcare providers. They play a vital role in maintaining accurate and up-to-date patient records, which are essential for effective communication and continuity of care.

Now that we have a basic understanding of these two roles, let's dive deeper into their differences.

Difference between an EKG and Healthcare Documentation Specialist

While both an EKG technician and a healthcare documentation specialist work in the healthcare field, their job responsibilities and daily tasks differ significantly. Here are some key differences between the two roles:

  • Job Duties: An EKG technician primarily focuses on performing EKG tests, which involves attaching electrodes to a patient's chest, arms, and legs to record the heart's electrical activity. They also assist physicians during stress tests and Holter monitoring. On the other hand, a healthcare documentation specialist primarily works with medical reports and documents. They transcribe and edit dictated reports, ensuring accuracy and proper formatting. They may also review and update patient records, ensuring they are complete and up-to-date.

  • Patient Interaction: As an EKG technician, you will have direct patient interaction. You will be responsible for explaining the procedure to patients, answering their questions, and ensuring their comfort throughout the test. In contrast, a healthcare documentation specialist typically has minimal or no direct patient interaction. Their focus is on accurately transcribing and editing medical reports.

  • Work Environment: EKG technicians typically work in hospitals, clinics, or diagnostic imaging centers. They may also work in emergency rooms and cardiac rehabilitation centers. Healthcare documentation specialists, on the other hand, often work in medical transcription companies, hospitals, or clinics. Some may also work remotely from home.

  • Equipment Used: EKG technicians work with specialized equipment, including EKG machines, electrodes, and stress testing equipment. They must be knowledgeable about how to operate and maintain this equipment properly. Healthcare documentation specialists, on the other hand, primarily use computers, dictation software, and word processing software to transcribe and edit medical reports.

EKG vs Healthcare Documentation Specialist: Job Description

Now let's take a closer look at the specific job descriptions for both an EKG technician and a healthcare documentation specialist:

EKG Technician Job Description:

  • Perform EKG tests on patients, following established protocols and procedures.
  • Attach electrodes to the patient's chest, arms, and legs, ensuring proper placement.
  • Operate EKG machines and other equipment to record and analyze the heart's electrical activity.
  • Assist physicians during stress tests and Holter monitoring.
  • Prepare and maintain EKG equipment, ensuring it is clean and functioning properly.
  • Communicate with patients, explaining the procedure and answering questions.

Healthcare Documentation Specialist Job Description:

  • Transcribe and edit medical reports dictated by healthcare providers.
  • Ensure accuracy and proper formatting of transcribed reports.
  • Review and update patient records, ensuring they are complete and up-to-date.
  • Maintain confidentiality and security of patient information.
  • Research and resolve any discrepancies or missing information in medical reports.
  • Collaborate with healthcare providers to clarify dictation and ensure accurate documentation.

EKG vs Healthcare Documentation Specialist: Education and Training

The education and training requirements for an EKG technician and a healthcare documentation specialist also differ. Here's what you need to know:

EKG Technician Education and Training:

  • High school diploma or GED is typically required.
  • Some employers may prefer candidates with a certification in EKG technology, which can be obtained through a vocational training program.
  • EKG technician programs are typically short-term and can be completed in a matter of months.
  • These programs cover topics such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, EKG interpretation, and proper use of EKG equipment.
  • Hands-on training is a crucial component of EKG technician programs, as it allows students to practice performing EKG tests under the guidance of experienced instructors.

Healthcare Documentation Specialist Education and Training:

  • High school diploma or GED is typically required.
  • Some employers may prefer candidates with a certification in medical transcription.
  • Medical transcription programs are available through vocational schools, community colleges, and online institutions.
  • These programs cover topics such as medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and transcription techniques.
  • Hands-on training in medical transcription software and dictation equipment is also provided.
  • Some employers may require a minimum typing speed and accuracy for medical transcriptionists.

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EKG vs Healthcare Documentation Specialist: Career Outlook and Salary

When considering a career path, it's important to assess the job outlook and earning potential. Here's what you can expect for an EKG technician and a healthcare documentation specialist:

EKG Technician Career Outlook:

  • The demand for EKG technicians is expected to grow at a steady pace due to the aging population and the increased prevalence of cardiovascular diseases.
  • EKG technicians can find employment in hospitals, clinics, diagnostic imaging centers, and other healthcare facilities.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including EKG technicians, was $57,720 as of May 2020.

Healthcare Documentation Specialist Career Outlook:

  • The demand for healthcare documentation specialists is expected to decline slightly due to advancements in voice recognition technology and an increasing number of healthcare providers using electronic health records.
  • However, there will still be a need for skilled healthcare documentation specialists to review and edit transcribed reports for accuracy.
  • Healthcare documentation specialists can find employment in medical transcription companies, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for medical transcriptionists was $34,770 as of May 2020.

Final Thoughts

Both an EKG technician and a healthcare documentation specialist play vital roles in the healthcare field, but they have distinct differences in terms of job responsibilities, education and training requirements, and career outlook. If you enjoy working with patients and performing diagnostic tests, a career as an EKG technician may be the right fit for you. On the other hand, if you have strong attention to detail and enjoy working with medical reports, a career as a healthcare documentation specialist may be a better fit. Consider your interests, strengths, and long-term career goals when making your decision.

Dreambound offers programs in multiple locations. For in-depth information on the intricacies of these two vocations, their prerequisites, and steps to join, explore the following blogs:

Jessa Guzon
Written by
Jessa Guzon

Jessa Guzon is a member of the School Growth and Customer Success Team in Dreambound. She finds joy in assisting both schools and students in reaching their goals by answering their queries and connecting them with the right people. Outside her professional role, Jessa is a happy-go-lucky person with a thirst for adventure.

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