In medical transcription, we cannot avoid those inaudible or indecipherable terms that leave out a blank in our reports. It can be due to doctor's accent, background noise, a new word, physician turuning back to the microphone and a lot of other explanations that may opt us to leave blanks. Is there a way to minimize these blanks physicians are mumbling about? Perhaps yes, to some degree we can minimize blanks. But how? Below here is a list of some of the blank filling techniques that I’ve practiced and is quite useful.
1. Don't think of the spelling, think of the pronounciation first.
Think of how the word is pronounced. If you heard a word that sounded like "metrorade plyography", you could easily find a word that would sound similar to it. By the way - it's retrograde plyeography.
2. Search through related topics.
If you can't seem to find the word related to your search, find key words that are related to it. Use main topics such as body systems and surgical procedures. If it is a drug, Use key words such as antibiotics, antidepressants, antihypertensives, etc.
3. Search through the internet.
If you think that the term is not listed or cannot be found on your computer, you could look up through the internt. You could use GoogleMT.com This is a site that is specially customized for MTs who have problems with word searches. Don't worry about the spelling as the internet Autocorrects the spelling of the word you typed.
4. Ask another MT
Another rule of thumb in medical transcription is that you could always ask for assistance from a fellow medical transcriptionist. He/she could be your senior, your editor, manager, seatmate. Nonetheless, what other MTs can't hear, others can. You should always consider that option. Don't be afraid to tell others that you can't decipher that word, because everyone has a weak point. Others may understand the same word while some cannot.
5. Refer to other or similar reports
Unbelievable as it may seem but most physicians use the same words and terms over and over again. So if you have the same doctor dictating again and again and somehow did not understand a word he/she just said, you could look up to a previous report that doctor has dictated.
6. Try to remember
With so many dictations you try to transcribe in a day, you almost forgot to recognize a physicians voice that has rung your ears for quite sometime. Always remember, if you can, one of your physician's voice and accent. This will, in time, help reduce your blanks in your report. As the same doctor, will use the same words over and over again.
7. Search for the whole phrase
One of the techniques I've used in searching unfamiliar words is that I include in my search the words that comes after or before the unfamiliar word I wanted to search. Most of the time, something good will come out. The phrase you searched will be there including that unfamiliar word you've been searching.
Filling out blanks is a time-consuming process. Unless you are certain that the word you used will match the context and what the doctor dictates, don’t gamble by just inserting any phonetically similar word. After all these are permanent health records that would literally affect the patient's health. Remember, blanks are always a thousand times better than sound alikes and errors and it’s better to admit your defeat than to act smart.