Thursday, September 13, 2007


Transcriptionists often use more than one computer as part of their work. First, let's look at the obvious: the computer they use to transcribe the dictation they listen to day in and day out.
Computer word-processing programs offer a wealth of customizable options for the medical transcriptionist. The most valuable, and perhaps the one most often taken for granted, is the ability to do on-screen editing. This allows transcriptionists maximum flexibilityin rearranging text by using such techniques as electronic cutting and pasting. The ease of making corrections, combined with the ability to rely on electronic spell checkers, makes it possible for a transcriptionistto type faster and keep pace with a doctor's dictation. With fewer starts and stops, the work can become less stressful and, as a result, less prone to errors.

In addition to having a choice of operating systems (Windows, Macintosh) and word-processing programs (Microsoft Word, Corel WordPerfect, transcriptionists now have instant access toword, line, character, and page counts. Using a variety of scalable fonts, they can reproduce a physician's letterhead and create electronic document files which, when printed with the appropriate hardware, produce laser-quality reports that look as if they have been professionally typeset.
In addition to the powerful macro (scripting) languages contained in many word-processing programs, medical transcriptionists can purchase software programs written specifically for their type of work. These range from Stedman's Plus Electronic Spellchecker which can force capitalization on brand names of pharmaceuticals) to word-expansion programs like Shorthand for Windows and Instant Text (which take an acronym or short form like COPD and make it expand into "chronic obstructive pulmonary disease"). These shorthand programs dramatically improve a transcriptionist's productivity while reducing the actual number of keystrokes -- thus lowering the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome for people who are production typists.
Thanks to the sophisticated macro language in most word-processing programs (and the ability to assign multiple variables), transcriptionists can also have automatic naming, formatting, and logging of documents. Most importantly, they can archive old documents electronically and devise a system for accurately tracking a document by its filename.

Next: Digital Sorting And Routing

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