Monday, September 10, 2007

Another Way In Which Speed Kills

Dictating reports is not a game of "Beat the Clock". When doctors aim for speed while dictating, clarity automatically takes a beating. Consider the following:

  • If you try to squeeze as many words as possible into one breath you will quickly discover that, when you pause for your next breath, you will probably be stopping at a point in your dictation that does not finish a sentence or complete a logical thought. This creates confusion and forces the medical transcriptionist to go back and listen to what you were saying several times in order to make sure that your dictation made any sense.

  • If you try to dictate more rapidly than you would normally speak, you are going to start swallowing certain sounds and syllables. Since a medical transcriptionist can only type the sounds that are heard, critical words and numbers may end up missing from your report.

  • As you accelerate your speech, the volume of your voice naturally tends to decrease. As a result, the faster you go, the softer -- and less audible -- your voice becomes. This makes it harder for you to be understood and slows down the medical transcriptionist.

  • The faster you go, the more likely you are to jumble your thoughts until you begin creating nonsensical sentences. This means that a medical transcriptionist must spend more time editing your work and trying to make sense out of what you are saying.

  • The faster you go, the more likely you are to get off to a false start. This means that you must go back, begin dictating the same thought again, and try to get it right. It also means that the transcriptionist who has been typing what you dictated must erase those words, go back, and start all over again.

  • The faster you speak, the more likely it is that a transcriptionist will have to leave blank spaces in your reports. The more blank spaces that are left in your reports, the more time you will have to spend remembering what you said about the patient and correcting transcribed reports so they can meet the standards set by the Medical Record Committee.

  • If word spreads that you are a terrible dictator -- and that medical transcriptionists lose money by struggling with your work -- you will find it harder to locate people who will be willing to transcribe your dictation.

I can think of no better way to demonstrate the perils of excessive speed than with this classic clip from I Love Lucy:

Next: Slow Down And Live Longer

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