VI. InstantText7 is the best word expander

A.     Why use InstantText (IT)?

IT5 was already known to be the state of the industry “word expander”.  However, IT7 is even more powerful program.  See

http://www.productivitytalk.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=624344&pid=656273&st=0&#entry656273

to see how happy the users of IT5 are with the new upgrade.  IT7 has the flexibility to handle even extremely large glossaries (more than 500,000 entries), allowing a MLS to create any and every abbreviation they want.

As mentioned above, most expanders require each and every letter of the exact abbreviation be typed to trigger the expansion.  However, IT7 provides several suggested words or phrases at the bottom of the computer screen after typing only 2 letters or numbers, which can be selected with a single character.

In addition, InstantText adds, edits and stores entries virtually instantaneously and can load a several hundred thousand item glossary in a minute or two.  A single search and replace function of hundreds of abbreviations can be done in seconds by InstantText.  Even though IT7 allows duplicates, a delimiter at the end of a short form allows differentiation between identical abbreviations.

B.     IT7 can create a powerful and complete glossary system

I had a medical transcription supervisor tell me that there are two types of medical transcriptionists, those that put everything into an abbreviation and those who felt they could type it faster manually (which is only true on a short-term basis).  I fall into the first type.  I also have read that 75% of the repetitive typing in medical transcription is non-English words, so that even a medical transcriptionist who puts medical terms into abbreviations is still doing a lot of manually unnecessary keyboarding.

I used to do medical transcription on a correcting Selectric typewriter.  Memory typewriters existed at the time, which had between 10 and 100 programmable keys. I would tell my supervisor that if I could use one of those I could play back the repetitive headings.  He would say “Go back to your desk and type.”  I used to think to myself that medical transcription would be a tolerable way of making a living, if I just could use abbreviations I thought up and had no limit to them.

I tried creating a large number of abbreviations with Microsoft Word version 2 and WordPerfect 5.1, but I ended up in the first case crashing the program by trying to add too many abbreviations and in the latter example filling up the hard disk by having 5,000 individual files, each holding containing only 1 abbreviation.

At that point, I gave up medical transcription and worked for attorneys for about 20 years.  When I came back to the medical field, I discovered that the job of transcription was much easier, in that word processors were used for transcription, internet Google searches reduced the amount of books and written references required to keep, and auxiliary “word expander” programs existed that would produce a desired phrase if a “trigger” key (semicolon, spacebar, etc.) was pressed after an abbreviation.

C.     MLS do not have to memorize the abbreviations when using IT7

For those MTs who claim they cannot memorize or recall all of these abbreviations, my system does not require they be memorized.  I use a formula.  In single medical and non-medical words, generally, the abbreviation is composed of the first letter of the word plus subsequent “significant” characters (representing a syllable, double consonant, etc.)   In a phrase of more than one word, the first letter of each word is combined for an abbreviation and if necessary a modifier is added (as described above).

D.     Zen Transcription uses such a system with 600,000 abbreviations.

The time it takes to create these abbreviations is a factor, however it is a long-term savings versus short-term expense.  When considering the repetitive stress problem of keyboarding, the fatigue and muscle problems of sitting hours in a chair, the mentally wearing nature of transcription and having to create report after report from virtually scratch, a system of abbreviations is VERY, VERY helpful.

Instead of the just mentioned problems, relying on a comprehensive system of abbreviations allows a MT to continue producing larger amounts of text with a lower typo rate, makes the job enjoyable or tolerable because it allows MTs to think in less mentally demanding ways (such as ‘bpz’ for blood pressure) and when a word or phrase is repeated more than once in a report, there is a great economy of scale.

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