Thursday, September 6, 2007

Consciousness Raising Exercise #24

Few doctors ever imagine that the words they dictate into a telephone or handheld recording device in the privacy of their offices could ever come back to haunt them. That's because the only other person who really listens to these words is the medical transcriptionist who transcribes the dictating physician's reports.

Listening to someone's dictation can be as revelatory as analyzing a person's urine for traces of illicit drugs. If the doctors who dictate reports at America's hospitals knew what their dictation really sounded like, many would run for cover.

Department heads who have had the dubious honor of listening to a colleague's inarticulate, inaccurate, and often incomprehensible dictation are likely to exert peer pressure on that doctor.

  • What if risk managers start asking to check your dictation for quality assurance purposes?

  • What if a group of auditors from the Joint Commission starts to select transcribed reports at random with an eye toward checking them against your taped dictation?
How well can your dictation stand up under close scrutiny?

To find out, try this simple exercise in humility. Before you do your next load of laundry, carefully sort out your underwear and examine each garment for stains caused by urine or fecal material.

Write a 150-word essay explaining how you would feel if the "dirty laundry" of your dictation was aired before your professional colleagues at a departmental meeting.

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