ITES sets sights on the blind

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By SANGITA SULTANIA G. ROY
  • Published 16.04.05
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The IT-enabled services (ITES) sector has now set its sights on the blind.

In a novel move, Transtek, a leading healthcare BPO organisation in the eastern region, is starting a medical transcription training programme for students of the Ramakrishna Mission Blind Boys? Academy, Narendrapur.

To begin with, five students have been shortlisted for the six-month programme. Starting April 18, the expertise for the training will be provided by Transtek, while Ramakrishna Mission will provide infrastructure support.

?We stumbled upon information on the Internet that blind people are working as medical transcriptionists in the US. This inspired us to take up the cause. Further research revealed that one Mohan Giri, who is blind, is working as a medical transcriptionist for a firm in Coimbatore. That was the clincher,? says Sudarshan Bagri, managing director, Transtek.

It helped that basic computer education forms part of the syllabus at the Narendrapur academy. Ramakrishna Mission makes available to its students a screen-reading software that reads aloud whatever has been typed in. The typing skills are, of course, mastered through practice.

The Mission has welcomed the Transtek move. ?Economic rehabilitation for the blind remains a big problem even today. This is a step in the right direction. Medical transcription will probably open up a new avenue for the blind,? says Sunil Baran Pattanayak, principal of the Ramakrishna Mission Blind Boys? Academy.

Medical transcription is an outsourced operation, whereby the dictation given by doctors in the US on patient case history and diagnosis is sent overseas in a digital recording format. This information is then transcribed or typed by employees in India, a skill that relies more on auditory than visual ability.

?We interviewed some of the students at the academy and found that their mental focus is much better than ours. So, there is no reason why they shouldn?t fare well,? feels Bagri.

Successful candidates will be absorbed by Transtek. If the experiment clicks, the firm plans to expand on the idea and employ 500 blind people over the next three years.