Monday, September 10, 2007

Consciousness Raising Exercise #7

Doctors frequently speed up their dictation when they get to the two parts of a hospital report which bore them or have little appeal-- the patient's physical findings and the laboratory data. However, these sections of a hospital report often contain the most crucial patient information.

To understand how such data can get mangled during rapid dictation, try this tongue-twisting exercise. Using a normal speaking voice, repeat this sentence ten times -- as quickly as possible -- without stopping:

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickledpeppers.

  • Did everything come out smoothly?

  • Was your enunciation flawless?

If that was too easy, try these lyrics from Act I of Gilbert & Sullivan's operetta, The Mikado:

"To sit in solemn silence in a dull dark dock.
In a pestilential prison with a life-long lock.
Awaiting the sensation of a short sharp shock
From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block."
Using a normal speaking voice, repeat this text ten times -- as quicklyas possible -- without stopping.

  • Did everything come out smoothly?

  • Or did you find yourself stumbling over consonants, swallowing syllables,and gasping for breath?

In 150 words or less, explain how the warning "speed kills" refers to a doctor's sloppy dictation habits.

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