Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Abesamis new NTC chief


RET. Rear Admiral Abraham Abesamis was named new commissioner of the National Telecommunications Commission yesterday, a day after NTC Commissioner Ronald Solis tendered his irrevocable resignation.

Transportation and Communication spokesman Thompson Lantion said the appointment was approved by President Macapagal-Arroyo.

Abesamis was former Armed Forces Deputy Staff for Communications.

Solis relinquished his post effective November 30, saying he wanted to go back to private law practice. Abesamis will take over the post on Dec. 1.

Recruitment firm fires up first SMS inquiry system

Overseas recruitment agencies are often perceived as vultures who exploit desperate and hapless jobseekers who want to work abroad. As a way of changing this image problem, a local recruitment firm is turning to information technology to improve their service and enhance the public’s perception on them in the process.

Intramuros-based JS Contractor Inc., which has deployed 100,000 Filipino workers abroad since 1977, is the first overseas recruitment agency to utilize the Interactive Recruitment Information System (IRIS), an online initiative that allows applicants to easily monitor the recruitment process.

Recently, it further embraced IT as a way of life when it became the first recruitment firm to tap SMS or text messaging as a customer service tool. Simply called JSCon SMS, the service extends the capabilities of the IRIS to the mobile phone.

Mary Jean Borra, president of JS Contractor Inc., said they decided to employ SMS in their system because the mobile phone is the most pervasive and practical communication tool available in the country.

"This will save them a lot of money, especially for those applicants who are based in the provinces. Now, they will no longer need to go to our office to follow up on their applications," she said.

At R2.50 per message sent, Borra said this is much cheaper compared to traveling to the agency’s recruitment centers or even renting a PC in an Internet café.

The SMS service, according to recruitment head Ronald Remolano, would also significantly reduce the manpower hours spent entertaining hundreds of inquiries from job applicants.

The text service is for simple job search, monitoring, and inquiry purposes only. The submission of paper documents should be done at the agency’s recruitment offices in Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Aklan. Online applications, however, can be made at www.jscon.com.ph.

To register for JSCON SMS, applicants can key in ON JSCON and send to 2800 for Globe and Touch Mobile; 216 for Smart and Talk n; Text; and 2288 for Sun subscribers.

Synermaxx Corp., an up-and-coming third-party mobile services provider, is implementing the SMS service for JS Contractor.

According to Remolano, an engineer, the company’s multi-million investment in IRIS made it easy for them to add the text messaging service, as this uses the same infrastructure of the online system. "Without the IRIS as a backbone, it would not have been possible for us to offer the SMS service."

Borra, for her part, reckoned that instead of buying new cars for its executives, the company opted to spend the money to buy the equipment needed for the system. But it’s all worth it, she said, after IRIS brought unprecedented benefits never before seen by the agency.

"The employer can view our data pool and submit their manpower requirements from anywhere, anytime.

Applicants, in turn, may also view their recruitment status from the time of selection up to their deployment," she said.

IRIS has also simplified company operations that the actual recruitment costs have gone down by as much as 60 percent, according to Borra, adding that their applicants are never charged with placement fees.

"From two months job application processing, it now only takes an average of three weeks to complete the whole recruitment process," she said.

Proving that the company has fully embraced modern technology, its headquarters in the ancient district of Intramuros is Wi-Fi enabled and houses a 24/7 videoconferencing facility for foreign clients who want to interview applicants.
By MELVIN G. CALIMAG . Manila Bulletin

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Work opportunities in medical transcription

By Myla Rose M. Reyes, Managing Director, Total Transcription Solutions, Inc.

My attention was recently called by some of our colleagues in the industry who had an opportunity to visit a forum on medical transcription. There were quite a number of questions on whether this career is worth spending money to invest in training. Having started as a medical transcriptionist myself after working in a hospital as a nurse and a short stint in teaching clinical nursing, I would like to share my thoughts on some of the questions posted.

Are there really good opportunities in MT?

The demand for medical transcription will continue to increase as the demand for health care rises. Medical transcripts are the source documents and “proofs of work done” to meet US federal and state requirements by medical practitioners, and the basis of patient medical management.

India, Philippines, Pakistan and other countries continue to service US health-care facilities as the demand for electronic conversion of medical records increases by 15 percent to 20 percent every year. The Philippines has, in fact, recognized its potentials by leveraging on the people skills and sophisticated IT infrastructure. There is an apparent dearth in the number of qualified people to do the job. Currently estimated at 6,000 to 7,000, the number of medical transcriptionists needed by the country is forecasted at 100,000 by year 2010.

Is training required to be an MT?

Those who have relegated medical transcription to the “clerical” classification have a basic misunderstanding of the knowledge and skills required for this profession. Although medical transcription is performed using a keyboard—it is not a keyboarding skill. It is a language skill. In order to properly translate and document patient care records, the MT must employ the knowledge of English grammar and usage, understanding of basic anatomy and physiology, disease processes, laboratory medicine, and pharmacology in order to select and use appropriate terminology, since there are many sound-alike words in the medical language. Knowledge of business technology and computer operation is also important. Listening and researching skills are also critical components in the learning process.

The above are the competencies required of a medical transcriptionist. While it is true that people with medical background may have a better chance of learning the competencies, let me share with you the current trend.

Big bucks . . . are they real?

Having the right knowledge, skills and attitude is really important especially when a person is starting in the medical transcription field. Attitude makes a lot of difference. Aiming for the gold mine is not bad if you have all that it takes to deserve it. It is true that medical transcriptionists may earn around P20K to P30K month, maybe more, but I am quite sure these people did not achieve this overnight. All jobs begin as difficult until such time that the ears are used to deciphering difficult accents before considering the work easy to average. Becoming productive in doing such accounts requires a significant amount of discipline, patience, practice, practice and practice. Quality precedes quantity as they say.

Is there an age limit?

While it is true that some medical transcription companies would prefer younger professionals, medical transcription does not prescribe any age limit for as long as the minimum skills are met. One advantage of a younger age group is having a better proficiency in computer operation. On the other hand, the older generation has a better grasp of the English skills compared with the younger age group. Some retired professionals train as medical transcriptionists not to be employed, but to learn the technicalities of how to set up or market the business.

Medical transcription is a difficult, stressful work, but is challenging and fascinating. The income possibilities are good, but only after a significant investment in training and experience. Of course, add the fact that career advancement is indeed fast paced in this industry. My advice to all frustrated graduates is to keep on practicing transcription and never lose the skills you have learned during training.

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If you have any questions or topics that you want discussed or posted on Sunday Times about Medical Transcription, please email through mt.on.mt@gmail.com.