Sunday, September 16, 2007

Word Expanders

Several word-expansion programs are available to word processors and transcriptionists which allow them to type in a form of "medical shorthand." The most popular of these programs are Shorthand for Windows and InstantText.

How do these programs work?

When a word-processing program is launched, the word-expander software loads a database of matching short forms and long forms into the computer's memory. As the transcriptionist works, he can type a short form followed by a period, space, or any other punctuation mark. When this action is completed, the short form he has typed will expand into the long form he desires.
Word-expansion programs increase productivity by saving keystrokes and assuring that the expanded long form is correctly spelled each time it appears in a document. Because the information is already resting in memory, these programs do not require the extra time, keystrokes, and energy used to launch a macro (which must retrieve a file from the computer's hard drive). As a result, word-expansion programs are faster, simpler, and can increase productivity much more than many macros do.
The short forms and long forms used by these programs are fully customizable; they are only limited by the user's imagination and the amount of RAM memory in his computer. Some examples:

Short form
Short form expands to read
AsnoyAbdomen was soft, nontender, no organomegaly
CnCranial nerves II-XII were grossly intact
GieeGood inspiratory/expiratory effort
Pa4The patient was alert and cooperative, oriented times 4
PerrlaThe pupils were round, regular, equal, and reactive to light and accommodation
yovw-year-old Vietnamese woman
gsr2I then dipped the tip of the endoscope in 2% Xylocaine jelly and gentlyand atraumatically introduced it into his mouth, oropharynx, and into his upper, mid, and distal esophagus.

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