Friday, September 14, 2007

Medical Spell Checkers

Electronic spell checkers are godsends to transcriptionists and other word processors. Thanks to electronic spell checkers, a transcriptionist can type as fast as necessary in order to keep up with a dictating physician while resting securely in the knowledge that the spell checker will identify transposed characters that do not form a proper word, spot case inconsistencies, and bring other, routine typing errors to the attention of the transcriptionist.

  • By allowing the transcriptionist to "chain" supplementary word lists into the word processor's spell-checking utility, these programs act as guardians against improper usage of medical terminology.

  • Some medical spell checkers offer separate dictionaries for specialties such as oncology, radiology, cardiology, orthopedics, and the names of surgical instruments.

  • Pharmaceutical spell checkers will even force capitalization on brand name drugs and check for specialized uses of upper and lower case in the spelling of medications such as BuSpar or pHisoHex.

When a spell checker finds a misspelled word it offers the transcriptionist several options:

  • The transcriptionist can choose from a menu of possible replacements and, by pressing a certain key, have the spell checker correct the word in that particular location.

  • The transcriptionist can have the spell checker replace the word with a given choice every time that word appears in the document.

  • The transcriptionist can add that word to the spell checker's dictionary.

  • The transcriptionist can ignore the word and let it stand.

  • If a doctor is mumbling something which vaguely resembles a word root, by using computer programming wild cards such as [*] or [?] the transcriptionist can search for any and all words containing a certain string of text in an attempt to find out what the physician might be trying to say.

Next: Looking It Up Electronically

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