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In both the medical and legal fields, the use of technology is a must to increase efficiency, accuracy, and to save time. By using technology wisely one can do more work in less time with less aggravation. The fields we will discuss in this article are medical transcription, medical coding, legal transcription and paralegal. All of these career fields make use of technology and being informed of some of the methodologies can help make your work day easier.
Medical transcriptionists use many different technologies to do their jobs such as FTP (file transfer protocol, word expander software, and spell checking software. In this article we shall focus on word expanders and spellcheckers.
There are several very good word expander software programs available to medical transcriptionists. Here we will review several of them. Word expander software allows the MT to type a few letters that represent a larger word. So a word like “esophagogastro-duodenoscopy” may be shortened by simply typing “esoy” and then hitting the space bar or another marker key to expand to the larger word form.
Instant Text is probably the premiere word expander software available today. It costs about $189 and has many bells and whistles. For example, it has the ability to allow the MT to scan previously typed reports, and to abstract frequently used words and phrases and to add them automatically to the glossary. You can work with multiple glossaries and many other options with Instant Text. Though a learning curve is required to use it easily, once mastered, it will take you to the next level of production rather easily, time and money well spent. Shorthand is mid-priced expander software. It has some bells and whistles too, and is relatively easy to learn. It costs about $100. You can use multiple glossaries with Shorthand and can import third party word lists into it.
Swift Text by Bytescribe and Abbreviate! By Words Plus are both nice inexpensive expanders. Neither have any bells and whistles. They are straight out expander programs. You can have multiple glossaries but these are simple programs. They are inexpensive at about $50 and are nice little expander programs. Swift text also offers a version for legal workers. Stedman’s medical spellchecker is second to none in being the top software of choice for most MTs. It costs about $100 and is an invaluable tool for MTs. The spellchecker will integrate into MSWord and runs in the background, alerting you to misspelled words as you type. It also suggests words to replace the misspelled ones.
We’ve recently had the opportunity to use Alpha II coding software. In fact, Meditec is a reseller of this amazing software. It is a great program for coding students to utilize while learning coding. Forty percent of all medical practices use Alpha II. Basically, the way the software works is that you click on the CPT tab, type in the procedures, click a button and voila, you’ve got the code. Then, you can click a button to see all the related ICD9 codes that match your procedure codes. What would usually take 10 minutes to look up in a book takes one minute w/ Alpha II. I admit it, I LOVE this software. If I was coding professionally and the doctor I worked for didn’t use Alpha II, I’d load it onto my laptop and take it to work with me – it’s really THAT good. At $1295.00 some will feel it’s hard to justify. However, if you are a coding student or medical coder it makes your life so much easier that after demo’ing the software, you’ll be sold on it too.
Medical Transcription/Legal Transcription/ Paralegal
All of the above mentioned professions use production typing. Being at the keyboard so much of your day, it is important to have a good solid and comfortable keyboard. Many have been telling me about the Kinesis Contour Advantage keyboard. I haven’t yet used one but plan to try it out soon. Some of the advantages of this board is that it is very well made. It’s been said you can’t “kill” this board. The keys are lined up straight instead of staggered and your fingers type in a type of “well.” Everyone that I’ve talked to that has used this board has loved it. Naturally, it’s quite a bit more than regular keyboards, ($299.00) but will last forever. Also, if it saves your wrists from injury and you find it comfortable, it’s worth the price. I’ve also used the Microsoft Natural Elite 4000 which is an inexpensive board- around $30 -$50. It has a split keyboard and is quite comfortable for most people. It is reasonably well made, but keep in mind that as a production typist you may go through a board a year.
It is recommended that large screen monitors 17inch and larger are best to use for comfort, to prevent eyestrain, etc. I like the flat screen LCD monitors. They are common now and many offer anti-glare, which is another plus. When updating or upgrading your computer monitor, consider getting a large, flat screen, anti-glare LCD monitor. They range in price from $150-$300.
If you are interested in any of the products mentioned in this article, you can Google the name of the product and find the vendors website. We are a reseller of Alpha II coding software because we believe in its performance and usability. You can find more information regarding Alpha II here. Let us know if you would like to purchase and we’ll set it up for you.
Becoming familiar with what technology is available in your field of choice and learning to use it effectively is part of keeping up with current trends and making your life much easier.