Guest Blogger

This is a repost for those needing a little extra encouragement today 🙂

This week we have a new guest blogger, Jill Belzer from Transcend Services (  For the past five months, Jill has been stretching her boundaries and finding success.  She has kindly offered to share a few of her tips below.  Enjoy!

When I first started editing (5 months ago), I was averaging a speed of 300-400 lph.  Over the course of a couple months I jumped up into the next bracket of 400-500 lph.  Currently, I am working on achieving 500-600 lph consistently and looking at coming real close to achieving that goal. 

What I had been doing the first few months was utilizing and learning all the keyboard shortcuts for editing a document.  I knew these were key and had to be utilized before I could even think about getting any faster.   During the course of my day, I try to edit with power hours, going at least an hour at a time before stopping to do ANYTHING…just good old, straight editing for 1 to 2 hours, then break time so I can come back and do another power hour, etc.  No more clicking into Facebook or Twitter between reports for me.  If I do this, I need to consider it a part of my break and do it at beginning of break time, otherwise it completely throws out my concentration and it is hard to get back in the groove of editing.

I’ve come to realize that for me, editing drains the brain way faster than when I do straight transcription.  I learned to help myself out by thinking in context, or think of the dictation you are hearing as if you were going to type it yourself, and then go ahead and use the edit report as a tool.  If you just can’t figure out what the dictator is saying, sometimes it helps to look away from the edit report because what the software blew out may be screwing up what you really want and need to hear.  So think of what you would have transcribed had the edited report not been in front of you. 

To save yourself lots of time, learn to not over edit the report.  If there is an extra “the” in there or if not there, don’t worry about putting it in there, unless of course it would change the meaning of the sentence.  These little changes/additions/deletions will waste precious time and you will see a big improvement in your lph. 

I am hoping to be jumping up into the 500-600 lph range here shortly, and I have to give it credit to upping the speed of the audio.  While hitting 400-500 lph, I was utilizing 132%-152% speed rate, and now I rarely go below 175% and sometimes use 201% speed.  For this, I have to give credit to Sandy Lykins who, during a team meeting call, said she was using these speeds and I said to myself, “If she can do it, so can I.”  Before that, I thought there was no way using that speed…So thank you, Sandy!! 

 However, I’ve also learned that in some instances if I set the speed too high, I have to go back and listen as with some dictators I would end up with multiple blanks, which I could easily fill in by going back and listening at a slower speed, so you will need to learn which dictators you can speed up and which ones are not worth speeding up because it only dampens your lines per hour as a result. 

I’ve also recently added a few more Shorthand shortcuts for certain editing functions which limits how far my fingers/arms have to move/reach from the home edit keys (the control, shift, arrow keys).  I now have an easier way of deleting and backspace deleting without moving my fingers from the ctrl/shift and arrow keys; whereas before I was reaching up and across the keyboard to get to my delete and backspace keys, now I’m moving my index and middle finger 2 keys up from the arrows to do this using a “ctrl+” function.  I’m still getting used to these commands, but it is going to be a lifesaver and lph booster once I get them hard-wired into my brain-to-finger coordination properly. 

Sometimes it is slow to learn new commands and functions and it is just plain easier to stay doing what is comfortable and familiar, but you have to ask yourself if you are comfortable with your production.  If you are, great.  If you are not, then break out and try one thing that will help your production speed.   I’m never completely comfortable, because there is always something new to learn, some faster, more efficient way to get it done, and I want to be doing everything as efficient as possible so I can reach my ultimate goal, which is, let’s just say, not 600.

If you would like to be a guest blogger or have editing tips to share with your fellow MTEs, contact us by leaving a comment or send us a direct email.  As always, any response will remain anonymous unless we receive permission to post otherwise.

Five Little Editing Tips

When working in production, every second counts.  The little things that might not seem like such a big deal add up at the end of the day.  Here are five editing tips that, while minor, might save you a bit of time.

  • When creating sections and subsections, don’t add the punctuation (colons, dashes, etc)  to the end. The punctuation will automatically be added after you submit the document.
  • When creating lists, it is not necessary to move your cursor to the beginning of the list. It does not matter where your cursor is, the bullet will automatically appear at the beginning of the paragraph.  Also, do not change the bullets to numbers.  This will automatically change when after the document is submitted.
  • When using the toggle case shortcut, there is no need to select the word.  You only need to select if you are changing a word or phrase.
  • If your account is using allowable section titles, pay attention to the color changes.  Once your structure lines turn green, you can hit the tab key to auto complete the section heading. 
  • Don’t forget about the “look up” feature.  If you need to research a word or phrase, use Look Up rather than opening a separate resource and manually doing a search.  

Contest Winners

Thank you to everyone you entered our MT Week contest.  The winners have been chosen and have been contacted via email.  We read through every response and it seems like most of you are in agreement.  What you like best about your career is:

  • Learning from the reports as well as learning new systems.
  • Variety in work types, physicians, switching between editing and transcribing. Never knowing what you are going to get.  
  • Flexibility.  Being able to work a variety of hours, work from different locations, etc.
  • And of course, the ability to work from home.

Congratulations to all of our winners!

Happy MT Week!

We’re having another contest!  This year’s question is….What do you like about being a medical transcriptionist/editor?

We will give away five $25 gift cards and five mentoring sessions.  With your entry, please let me know if you want to be entered into the drawing for a gift card, mentoring session, or both.  All entries must be submitted to by May 25 at 10 am EST.  I will announce the winners on May 25 at 3 pm EST. Good luck!

Working Together for Patient Safety

As many of you know, next week is National Medical Transcriptionist Week (May 20-26).  To celebrate, we will give away gift cards all week.  Check back Monday for information on how to enter the contests. 

Here is more information regarding this year’s theme from

Clinicians and Healthcare Documentation Specialists Work Together for Patient Safety

In 1999 the Institute of Medicine published their well-known study of preventable medical errors and the human cost of those errors, “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System.” Concern for patient safety did not begin in 1999, but that report underlined in dramatic fashion the need for increased attention to the issue.

Serving as a second set of eyes on patient health records, healthcare documentation specialists are knowledge workers trained to look for and identify potential errors in the medical record. No matter where errors originated, healthcare documentation specialists, like everyone else involved in patient care, are passionately committed to eliminating preventable threats to patient safety.

Ensuring patient safety is not a one-dimensional task that rests solely upon one individual healthcare provider. Clinicians and healthcare documentation specialists must forge a partnership, working together for patient safety.

Increase the Visibility of Healthcare Documentation Specialists by:

  • Getting Credentialed. Our healthcare delivery system places a high value on the credentials that testify to your skills and training. With lower exam pricing and new exam options, including the ability to take an exam online from your own computer, it’s never been easier to achieve this goal. Visit and click on “Certification” to learn more.
  • Being an Advocate. Reignite AHDI’s “Have You Read Your Medical Record?” public awareness campaign and use the PHR Tool Kit to educate people about the importance of a medical record as well as how to create a medical record and verify the accuracy of information. Learn more at
  • Making an Impact. Partner with physicians and healthcare facilities to help them adopt and implement policies and training practices found in our Dictation Best Practices Tool Kit to promote high-quality dictation and to ensure the best documentation outcomes. View the tool kit at

For more information about AHDI’s advocacy efforts, visit our website ( and click on “Advocacy and Public Policy.”

Enlarge Your Cursor

If you often find yourself searching for your cursor while editing, changing your cursor size could be helpful. This is not an application option, but you can change your cursor width by changing your computer settings. In order to do this, you will first need to know your operating system. Click on the “Start” button and then “Help and Support”. You should be able to find your operating system listed there. Most of us will have either Windows 7 or Windows XP. My computer is a few years old, so I’m still on Windows XP.

 If you are using Windows XP, you have the ability to change the text cursor blink rate and width. To access these settings, click on the “Start” menu and select “Control Panel”. Once the control panel is open, click on “Accessibility Options” and select the display tab. This is where you will customize the cursor options.

To access these options using Windows 7, click on the “Start” menu and select “Control Panel”. From there, click on the mouse icon.

Change Management

Welcome to our first post as the new M*Modal! The M*Modal guy got a make-over, too.  You can see his new video and learn about the rebranding of M*Modal over on our new website In the next few weeks, you will see a change in the appearance of this blog and maybe a couple new contributors (YAY!).  Nothing else will change.  The focus will remain the same. 

The rebranding has all of us thinking a lot about change…not only the changes that have happened and are happening now, but also the changes to come in the future.  One of my personal goals this year is to learn how to accept and adapt to change rather than resist (or fear) it.  My personal life has been giving me a lot of practice.  So far, I’m doing pretty good!  The key for me has been to try to manage the change and be proactive.  Last year, Lynn wrote an newsletter article about this very topic.  Her article is from a professional standpoint, but certainly adaptable to other situations as well.   For those of you who missed her article, you can read it below.

 Change Management – Are you Managing the Change or is the Change Managing You?

 We all hear about the need for “change management” when we discuss the process of adapting to a new technology. People say that no one likes change. In fact, something that we at M*Modal sometimes hear is that “MTs don’t like to learn anything new.”  

We beg to differ! As MTs you are constantly learning! How else could you possibly produce high-quality clinical documents given the constant influx of new drug names, procedure names, and terminology that you are exposed to during the course of your work?  And what about the technology changes that you have adapted to over the years? There are probably others out there besides me who remember transcribing on a typewriter. You embrace change and learn how to use it to increase both productivity and quality!

 I had a conversation with Gary David, PhD, a sociology professor from Bentley University, last month. Dr. David is working with AHDI to conduct research into the work of the medical transcriptionist. During the course of our conversation he stated that speech editing will help to change the perception that MTs are manual laborers (typists) into the awareness that MTs are actually highly skilled knowledge-based professionals. How? By taking the focus off typing speed and putting it back where it belongs…on your knowledge of medical language.

 So what can you do to take control of the changes coming your way? Remember the five “Ps”:

 1.      Participate! When there are meetings and discussions, volunteer to participate whenever possible. Listen and ask questions. Learn the facts about editing from people who know it. Know the difference between hype and realistic expectations.

 2.      Practice! Take every opportunity you can to practice your new skills.

 3.      Be patient with yourself. This is a big change and it takes time!

 4.      Persevere! Remember when you heard that first difficult dictation from a doctor who dictates like he is trying to win a race? You thought you would NEVER be able to transcribe him and now you can! You can do this too!

 5.      Stay positive! Don’t listen to the naysayers. Surround yourself with those who are as determined to be as successful as you are.

 Our team at M*Modal believes that medical transcriptionists are key to the production of high-quality clinical documents.  We are happy to support you as you manage this change in the way that you perform your important work. 

 Do you have more tips for managing change?  If so, leave them in the comment section!