Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

365 Days

September 18, 2010. Who would have thought that a few words on a social networking site would bring about such a change in my life? It was on this date last year that I received a response to a friend request from someone I had not seen in 35-ish years. I wasn’t even sure he would remember me. How amazing, sometimes, the way things work out.

There is something strange about all this, though. I am quite certain that the circumstance leading to our reconnecting was that he posted a birthday greeting on the wall of his niece, who was a FB friend of mine. Yesterday we were talking about the fact that it had been a year, and I stated I didn’t recall seeing Melissa’s birthday reminder come up on FB. To make sure I didn’t miss her birthday, I pulled up her home page today. Her birthday isn’t until next month. Hmm. My memory fails me more often than I like to admit, but I’ve held every detail about our getting reacquainted very close to my heart. Something’s not right. Either I missed that detail, and it wasn’t a “Happy Birthday” message he wrote to her, or (more likely the case), he just got her birthday wrong. Yes, that’s the explanation, I’m sure of it. I’m not sure FB will let me go back that far to find the exchange between them, but if I knew I could prove my memory hasn’t failed me, I’d probably give it a try.

At any rate, much has transpired within the year since we started “talking”. My new FB friend became my husband, and life is sweet. My family is nearby, my grandchildren grow ever more precious (is that even possible?), and Forever With My Sweetie looks better with each passing day.

Happy Facebook Anniversary, Stevie Jay. I love you!

Friday, September 2, 2011

It's All In A Day's Work

What is a Medical Transcriptionist?  Here's what you'd see if you looked at my Facebook profile: 

Medical Language Specialist. Healthcare Documentation Specialist. I translate the garbled, sometimes incoherent babbling of physicians into decipherable health reports to facilitate cohesive documentation of HIPAA-protected information required to provide patient continuum of care. (I type big, long, medical words all day.)
In this capacity, I've been called lots of things.  Transcriptionist.  Typist.  Secretary.  By far, though, my favorite is Dictationist.  That's what one of the cardiologists calls us.  He thinks we are his own personal transcriptionist.  He'll say "Note to My Dictationist, please go back and change where I said... bla bla bla" 
The industry has changed drastically since the days I learned the job on an old IBM Selectric (the non-correcting kind!) 85-lb electric typewriter.  In those days, there was no "go back and change" anything.  You ripped the paper outta the typewriter and STARTED ALL OVER.   The present-day doctors would be in a world of hurt if they couldn't go back and change 75 things after they were finished.  Well, let me re-phrase that.  I guess we "dictationists" would be the ones in a world of hurt if we didn't have our fancy word-processing programs that allow us to edit so freely. 
One of the questions I'm asked the most, is "how do you understand those foriegn doctors?"  Granted, they can be challenging at times.  Surprisingly, though, it's not just the ESL folks who make us want to shoot our monitors, or throw our headsets into the garbage disposal.  The good old, English-speaking folks can be a real nightmare as well. 
The other day I ran across a document called:  Dictation Guidelines For Physicians.  In the spirit of making life easier for physicians and "dictationists" everwhere, I'd like to submit these Guidelines as required reading for all graduating medical students.  We are confident that the Guidelines will be followed to the letter. 
Dictation Guidelines for Physicians

Adherence to these guidelines will assure the highest quality transcribed reports in the shortest amount of time.

At the beginning of the dictation, take as deep a breath as you possibly can. Now, try to dictate the entire report before you have to inhale again.

When dictating a particularly difficult word or phrase, please turn your head and speak directly into your armpit.

We charge per character, including periods. An effective way to cut your cost is to dictate your entire report as one sentence.

It is not necessary to repeat the same sentence multiple times in the same dictation.

If you have to sneeze or cough suddenly, please remove your head from your armpit and sneeze or cough directly into the microphone.

If you must eat while you dictate, please stay away from foods such as marshmallows, bananas, and pudding. Apples, pretzels, and celery are much better choices.

Please don't stop dictating when you yawn. It throws off our rhythm.

If the patient's name is Alan Ratzlaffenhasenphepherzinsky, please have the courtesy to spell "Alan" - there are several possible spellings, you know. For the last name, simply state "the usual spelling".

It is not necessary to repeat the same sentence multiple times in the same dictation.

Please note - the phrase "well-developed, well-nourished white female" is only three syllables.

Cardiologists, it is not necessary to dictate at the rate of your patient's atrial fibrillation.

Do not stop dictating in the event of minor background noise such as an office party, the janitor's vacuum cleaner, a screaming infant, etc. Again, it throws off our rhythm.

Be sure to place the emPHAsis on the CORrect syLLABLE, especially if enGLISH is your SECond lanGUAGE.

It is not necessary to repeat the same sentence multiple times in the same dictation.

Talk as fast you possibly can. Fair's fair; after all, we type as fast as we possibly can.

Please speak as quietly as you can.......we want to be able to hear what's going on around you.

If you need to pause for 5 or 10 minutes between words or phrases, pounding the receiver on the desk or repeatedly saying, "still dictating.... still dictating..... still dictating.... still dictating..... still dictating......" reminds us that indeed, you are still dictating.

Just because you need to use the restroom is no reason to stop dictating. Time is money!

Don't dictate so loudly that you disrupt your fellow physicians' football game in the doctors' lounge. In fact, you really should whisper all of your dictation, since the information is confidential.

Similarly, if you are going to watch TV while dictating at home, please watch a war movie with lots of bombing, and be sure to have the volume high enough so everybody in your living room can hear above your talking.

If you need to correct yourself -- sorry, correct an error, please do not rewind the tape -- sorry, do not back up and record over the error -- sorry, wait, the mistake -- just continue with the sentence -- wait -- go back -- with the paragraph and fix the error -- er, the mistake.

Please go back and just delete that last guideline.

When dictating on your cell phone from your car, be sure to go through as many tunnels as possible. This will ensure confidentiality of the information.

You (y-o-u) do not need (n-e-e-d) to spell (s-p-e-l-l) obvious words (w-o-r-d-s) for us (u-s). It is our job (j-o-b) to know (k-n-o-w) how to (t-o) spell words that (t-h-a-t) we learned (l-e-a-r-n-e-d) in third (t-h-i-r-d) grade (g-r-a-d-e).

Never, never dictate a full sentence, as it wastes your time and ours.

Please feel free to carry on a conversation while we wait patiently.

One last thing, it is not necessary to repeat the same sentence multiple times in the same dictation.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Dictationist