Why It’s Hard to Catch Your Own Typos

Another practice we do in medical transcription that doesn't contribute to quality documents, a blame and fault placed on the MT, once again, a responsibility that makes no sense and a duty for which we do not get paid.  When QA people chastise me for typos, I want to climb the walls. Yet, an entire healthcare documentation industry buys into this and creates processes, against any and all professional advice to the contrary, MTs proofreading their own work.  Fine enough to notice the things not working in the SRT and EMR worlds, but we have a lot to do in our own neighborhood.

Read this interesting and informative article about why we just can't successfully proofread our own work.  It's just another systemic problem, another medical transcription bad idea.  "What's Up With That?" Why It's Hard to Catch Your Own Typos."

When I first came to the world of transcription, through somewhat of a side door, I couldn't fathom why I was being scolded for typos.  I would actually leave companies to go to other companies to find common sense.  Oh, it's everywhere.  How easy and potentially lethal can the misplacement of a decimal point be in a medication error?  Yet, we transcribe documents, proof them ourselves, against every rule in the universe that says it's a bad idea, and off these records go to the chart, most of them never proofread by another set of eyes.  Yet, our industry is upside down over errors made in EHR and VR platforms.  We argue about one way or another, the problem is none of them are properly managed for quality.  It's another reason I want The Joint Commission to take on the task of imposing quality management/process management standards on our industry.  I have a few, but this one's a top 5 pet peeve of mine in this work.

The argument I hear from leaders in our industry promoting this practice?  It's too expensive to have all work proofread by a second person.  We, as an industry, apparently decided to save the medical world some money and accept and promote this process.  It's time we stand up for quality and ditch our codependent behaviors.  Name one other document-producing industry that allows the written word to go to its final destination un-edited by another, proofread by the original writer, errors allowed on the final report, and a duty for which the worker is not paid, then a QA person comes along and scolds and deducts pay for the errors found from a process forced to be endured by our workforce.  Is this insanity or what?


  1. Name Hidden Due to Privacy - October 29, 2015, 10:27 am

    I totally agree with Lydia. True industry standards would be wonderful. First you have BOS…then you have special rules for each account…then within each account are special rules for each work type…and then last but not least you have the special rules for certain docs. And we’re supposed to remember all of that, proofread our own work, and keep up with a line count requirement how exactly? It is pure insanity. I’ve heard several people say,”Well, you should just be thankful you have a job. If you’re not happy, why don’t you just find another job?” That is so not the point. And after doing this for so long and working from home, finding something else is easier said than done. I’ve tried. I was kicked to the curb back in 2014 by a large hospital corporation who went with one of the big MTSOs (shocker), and I spent many hours sending out resumes and filling out ridiculously long online applications. I got exactly 1 response, had an interview, but lost the job to another candidate who I’m willing to bet was younger. The point is this is my chosen career, I AM thankful to have a job, and despite all the things we are up against, I still love what I do. After suffering through a year with that big MTSO, I have finally found a smaller MTSO to work for that is run by great people and offers good benefits, so I am very thankful for that. However, again, some true industry-wide documentation standards would not only help us and lighten our insane burden a little, but would just make good sense from a patient safety standpoint. Sadly, as much as that phrase (patient safety) is preached, I believe the bottom line is the only thing of overall true importance to the powers that be in today’s healthcare industry.

  2. Name Hidden Due to Privacy - October 29, 2015, 9:41 am

    That whole “docs are gods” thing is yet another medical transcription industry projection. I worked alongside doctors for 20+ years. I did not experience this from 95% of doctors anywhere. I will continue to say that since the medical records department has not been folded into the quality process like the rest of the hospital, they have been left in another void where doctors WERE gods. It’s just not really like that, by my own experience, and then some of that is likely due to how individuals feel about themselves. I found them to be quite open to suggestions. I never felt any hesitancy to talk to them about problems or errors. That is what we did for a living all day long, find and fix errors.

  3. Name Hidden Due to Privacy - October 29, 2015, 8:33 am

    This is HUGE on my list too, probably #1. Yes, it is insanity! I am a nervous wreck come audit time and I KNOW, after over 15 years, I am better than this. They encourage us not to “guess” yet deduct points and pay if we send over 5% of our lines to QA. Rough stuff especially when they are constantly throwing new accounts at us! I could never comprehend why it is our fault if we cannot catch the correct numbers in a hurried, mumbled lab/medication/vitals dictation. Wouldn’t it make more sense to re-educate the dictator that if they want concise and accurate dictation, they must slow down and ENUNCIATE, especially during critical portions of text? ….Alas, docs are gods so there is no scolding them. I wish there was some way we could give feedback (that was taken seriously and actually addressed) on different things we run across. It would only make the medical record more accurate. Across the board standards, i.e. “the patient” or patient name, disc or disk, cc or mL, 2 spaces after a period or 1, formatting in general (standard headings) would make soooo much more sense to be easily adapted across the board to each different institution. Proofing our own work, and then being condemned for not spotting every little comma, or hearing “a” instead of “the” is just crazy and really does something to my psyche. Grrrrrrr….this one really does ruffle my feathers!

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