Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Medical Transcription Tips for Word Searching

By Connie Limon

Word searching is locating the medical word that is correct both in spelling and meaning. This is a Medical Transcription skill that takes time and practice to develop.

Tip #1:

If you find yourself unable to locate a medical word in your reference books, it might be the word has an initial letter different than the sound or initial letter you hear. For example, the v sounds very much like that of f, the letter m may actually be an x (xiphoid) and the k might be ch (ischemic).

In addition, medical terms that contain silent letters such as euthyroid, herniorrhaphy, pneumonia or words frequently mispronounced such as menstruation present a unique challenge for the Medical Transcriptionist.

Experience is often more the teacher in using available resources. The longer you remain a Medical Transcriptionist, the more proficient you will become in determining sound-alikes and locating terms with silent letters.

Tip #2:

When you are unable to locate a phrase under a particular entry, look under a related entry.

Tip #3:

When you hear a phrase you cannot understand, look first under the noun and not the adjective. Nouns usually follow adjectives. An example: If you are looking for bullous emphysema, look under emphysema (the noun) and not bullous. To find particular diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, look under disease.

An exception to the above tip is that in Latin phrases, the noun is followed by the adjective such as “fascia lata,” and “ligamentum flavum.” You would look under the first word with Latin phrases. Bacterial names are another exception in that the genus is given first, followed by the species: Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

If you exhaust all you know to do when word searching on the job, a Medical Transcriptionist should:

1. seek another transcriptionist’s opinion

2. refer to the patient’s chart

3. contact the dictating physician for clarification

4. leave a blank in the report and attach a note so that the dictator may insert the correct word

If you leave a blank in the report, you should flag the report by attaching a note with a paperclip. The note should list all blanks left in the report, and giving as many details as possible for ease of identification such as page and line number. The Medical Transcriptionist may also give a phonetic spelling of what the word or words sounded like to assist the dictator in filling in the blank or blanks.

The main thing to remember about word searching is to never guess at a word. A blank in the medical report does not reflect poorly on the Medical Transcriptionist who thoroughly researched for the words and exhausted all else before leaving the blank. Leaving a blank is the correct thing to do. Integrity and accuracy of the medical report is much more important than presenting documents that never leave blanks.

This article is FREE to publish with the resource box.

© 2007 Connie Limon All Rights Reserved

Written by: Connie Limon, Medical Transcriptionist. Visit us at for more information about the unique and rewarding career choice of Medical Transcription. Visit Camelot Articles for a variety of FREE reprint articles for your newsletter, web sites or blogs.

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