Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Editing With Grace

Transcription requires patience, excellent research and grammar skills, hearing acuity, and above‑average “fund of knowledge in medical subjects.” Editing also requires such qualities, in an amplified level.

Perseverance is also needed. Looking for a term or re-listening to it over and over again just to decipher it seems like a daunting task. A transcriptionist must have that intuitive ability to know that such a term is researchable and this ability is not acquired overnight. Composure is another thing. Sometimes, it is frustrating to do editing especially if the dictating physician has a bad accent, low voice quality, or the voicefile itself is of poor audio quality. No matter how hard you try to listen to it, you just can’t get it. It’s when frustration sometimes comes in and this is when we need to get hold of ourselves or check our egos or else, the transcribed document would be a total mess. We also need to be aware of our responsibility to make editing changes where they will enhance but not change the meaning. A blank is always an honorable thing rather than filling it up with words that might change or endanger the content. It is better and preferable than guessing.

Editing is the process of checking the transcribed file while listening to the dictation. It is when we alter, adapt or refine the transcribed document especially to bring about conformity to a standard or to suit a particular purpose. We check for errors in spelling, grammar, medical and English terms, punctuation, inconsistencies, redundancies, slang forms and contractions.

The transcribed report is a completely different document from the dictation. The “um’s” and “ah’s,” the awkward pauses, the rattling of pages and x-ray films, the ICU beeps and hospital pages, the screaming child, the dictator’s chewing are already gone, etc. The abbreviations expanded. The grammatical errors rectified. The inconsistencies resolved. The physician is the author of a document; we are the editors. We have reworked the dictation, we have corrected, we have honed, we have sharpened, we have clarified, but we have not changed content. As conscientious editors, we have preserved the integrity of the physician’s/author’s style. -- Journal of AAMT (Barbara Ellis, CMT)

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