Transcription Tips & Tricks:
Page 2

Transcription Tips & Tricks:
Page 2

Would You Please Repeat That - Slowly

Many physicians are so bad at dictating that you need some special techniques to understand exactly what they are saying. If you find it very difficult to understand a particular dictator, try these approaches: If your transcriber has a "tone" adjustment, make sure it is set to make the dictator's voice sound "raw" - i.e., little or no bass. Do the same if you have a "bass" control. Removing as much bass as possible allows the words to be heard more clearly. Unfortunately it may also accentuate any static on the tape/digital audio file. Try adjusting the tape/digital audio file playback speed from very, very slow to fast. Sometimes varying the speed of the tape/digital audio file will allow you to pick up on what is being said. If transcribing from tape, try unplugging your headset and playing the tape out of the transcriber speaker, if there is one. Try having someone else listen to the passage you are having trouble with (remembering confidentiality issues, of course). Make a note where the unintelligible section is on the tape/digital audio file, using the counter, and come back later to see if being away from it for a while helps you to "listen anew." One or a combination of all these approaches will sometimes help.

No Guessing

Avoid guessing about what you hear. If the problem dictation involves drug names, drug dosages, patient-described symptoms, etc., guessing incorrectly could have life-threatening implications if your error goes through the health system unnoticed. The safest, professional, and ethical approach is to leave a blank in the transcription, making sure to make a notification on the report about the area of dictation needing clarification by the dictating physician. Of course, if there is a way to verify what is being said by contacting the actual dictating physician or his/her staff, this is the best, quickest and sometimes easiest way to handle questions about problem dictation passages.

Telling It Like It Is

If the dictating physician is a chronically bad dictator, you will be doing yourself and other transcriptionists a favour by letting him/her know that they need to improve their technique. You could print-out our pages on "Dictation Tips" and send that information along with a tactfully written note. One of the best cures for a chronically bad dictator is to return transcription with every questionable word or passage left blank. By doing this regularly, you are indicating that the dictation is constantly poor. If someone, including the bad dictator, tries to imply you just don't have the skill to perform their work, show them successful transcription (minus confidential information) you have done from other physicians who know how to dictate properly. When all else fails, simply refuse to do their work if you are in a position to do so. Self-employed transcriptionists will often drop a client rather than agonize constantly day-in, day-out, over what is being dictated.

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