Archive for the ‘Medical Transcription Resources’ Category

MTIA / CDIA – The End of an Era

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

The Clinical Documentation Industry Association (CDIA), formerly known as the Medical Transcription Industry Alliance (MTIA) has formally announced that they have ceased operations.  After many years of service to the medical transcription industry the CDIA / MTIA organization has conceded that it must close it’s doors, citing external factors relating to the contraction and consolidation of the medical transcription industry in  recent years and the financial ramifications of those transformations.

The past several decades has been characterized by significant industry consolidation fueled by mergers and acquisitions within the ranks of medical transcription service organizations.  These consolidations have helped the industry in some ways by allowing for economies of scale, resulting in a healthier, albeit smaller, group of growth oriented employers. However, with the consolidation of MTSO’s, the medical transcription industry has become less nimble and has clearly suffered the loss of some of the entrepreneurial dynamism that has allowed the industry to adapt to an ever changing technological and regulatory landscape. One of the other obvious casualties of this tsunami of consolidation unfortunately, was the Clinical Documentation Industry Association (CDIA) which has experienced a rapidly shrinking membership base as MTSO’s have merged and consolidated operations.

This is a regrettable announcement in light of the fact that the CDIA / MTIA has provided many years of forward thinking leadership and training to the industry. Additionally, it has provided valuable lobbying efforts on behalf of medical transcription service organizations as well as to medical transcription practitioners worldwide.

The industry will certainly move forward.  However, we will also miss attending the annual CDIA convention and expo with its insightful workshops, training, and networking opportunities.  We express our sincere appreciation to all those who were involved in providing these industry services over the years.  Their tireless efforts will be missed.  Below is a full transcript of the announcement posted by CDIA:

Dear CDIA Members and Supporters,

The Clinical Documentation Industry Association (CDIA) has weathered many financial challenges over the past few years from the significant contraction in the marketplace and overall unhealthy economic conditions. In response, we rebranded the association to expand our reach beyond medical transcription, editing, voice, and speech recognition to encompass every touch point in the clinical documentation continuum. Our flagship event, the CDIA Annual Conference, had broadened the educational program to bring together these complementary audiences.

Unfortunately, the external factors have become too strong for the association to overcome and this is why we are writing to you today. On behalf of the CDIA Board of Directors, we regret to inform you that the association is closing and the annual conference planned for April 2012 in Baltimore, MD has been cancelled.

This has been a very difficult decision that the Board did not take lightly. The association’s finances could no longer sustain the organization to serve the members and support the annual conference. Over the next several weeks, CDIA representatives will be winding down the association and information will be sent regarding recent payments made to the association.

Thank you for your support of CDIA and participation in the association. We encourage you to continue to promote the spirit of CDIA’s mission, values, and advocacy platform as you continue your involvement in other associations, including the Health Story Project ( and AHDI (


The Clinical Documentation Industry Association

The QWERTY Keyboard Sham: Taking Inefficiency to New Heights

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

By:  Christopher Dunn

Did you ever wonder how the ubiquitous qwerty keyboard configuration came into being?  For those not familiar with the term, Q-W-E-R-T-Y refers to the six alpha keys on the left side of the top lettered row of the standard keyboard. Coincidentally, these keys spell “QWERTY”, which, of course, has no specific meaning other than what has become a favorite reference to this specific keyboard layout. Over the years the term QWERTY has evolved into a shorthand descriptor of the most popular international keyboard layout of all time.

If you’re like most people, you undoubtedly assume that sometime in the distant past, a group of highly paid efficiency experts were corralled into a room and forced to come up with the most brilliant and efficient keyboard arrangement possible.  Surely the individuals would have been charged with the task of developing a keyboard configuration for the ages – one that would promise to yield absolutely the fastest keystrokes with the minimum amount of stress.

Guess again.  The qwerty keyboard design was actually a far less noble effort and has a much more insidious history than that.

A Short History of the Mechanical Typewriter

The mechanical typewriter certainly represented one of the most important inventions of its time.  It played a key role in ushering in a new and unrivaled age of enlightenment and information sharing.  Nevertheless, the invention of the manual mechanical typewriter in 1868 came with its own unique set of problems and challenges. Among the most notable of these problems related to the propensity of the mechanical character arms to frequently jam.

The earliest versions of the mechanical typewriter had characters which were mounted on metal arms. As the typewriter keys were depressed, the downward force of the typist’s fingers would cause the metal arms to swing forward and strike the back of an ink ribbon and impress the characters onto a sheet of paper which was inserted firmly into a mechanical roller.

The jamming problem was exacerbated when two or more keys were struck in rapid succession.  Unfortunately, the fastest typists tended to get ahead of the swinging action of the arms causing frequent jams and resulting in errors that were difficult and time consuming to fix. In fact, the fastest typists ended up spending most of their time untangling metal swing arms and fixing errors resulting from mechanical mistypes.  It just didn’t pay to type too rapidly.

Development of the QWERTY Solution

Consequently, the QWERTY keyboard arrangement was designed specifically to solve this jamming problem.  The QWERTY keyboard was designed by Christopher Latham Sholes in the 1870’s – just a few short years after the first mechanical typewriters came off the production line. The final version of the Qwerty keyboard came about through a great deal of trial and error in an attempt to overcome what was the most pressing problem of the new typing device: the jamming problem.  It was discovered that by arranging the keys in such a way as to reduce the possibility of typing keys in rapid succession, enough inefficiency could be created in the typing process to circumvent the problem of tangling the metal mechanical character arms. Problem solved. Unfortunately, the burden of inefficiency rested squarely on the shoulders of typists who suffered a tremendous loss of productivity, incurred measurable additional stress, and were plagued by serious physical maladies such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

QWERTY:  The Most Inefficient Keyboard Layout Possible

1.  The ten most frequently typed letters in English language literature are in order: E, T, A, O, I, N, S, H, R, and D.   Of the eight home keys of a traditional QWERTY keyboard – that is, the keys where the fingers rest and spend most of their time – only three of the top ten letters are represented:  A, S, and D.  The other seven of the top ten most common letters require a reach up or down from the home keys to strike the key.

2.  What is more, the three “common” letters (A,S, and D) that are found on the home row of keys are located to the far left side of the keyboard. That is to say, they must be typed by the middle, ring, and little (pinky) fingers of the LEFT hand.  Most people are right handed. By forcing typists to type the most commonly encountered letters by either reaching or by using the least dexterous fingers of their weakest hand, the QWERTY keyboard all but guarantees the most painful, tedious and slow typing experience possible.

Hope for Change?

So why are we still clinging to a keyboard arrangement that is hopelessly outdated, completely irrelevant, and in every way counterproductive to speed and efficiency in an age of computers and high speed printers?  Could it be the same reason the United States refuses to embrace the more efficient and intuitive metric system?  Perhaps we are simply too entrenched and invested in an inferior system.  Maybe we perceive that a change of this magnitude would be too costly or chaotic. Possibly we simply lack the foresight or the will to change.  Whatever the reasons, it appears the QWERTY keyboard will be with us for the duration. As they say, it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks…

Medical Transcription Books and Resources

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Medical transcriptions are medical language specialists. The bulk of the transcription work in this country is performed by home-based professionals. As statutory or contract employees or subcontractors, it is generally up to the home based professional to develop and maintain their own library of professional industry resources. While there are a lot of options available, there are certain medical transcription books that should be considered mandatory for any home based MT professional.

A Basic home library should include at a minimum:

1. A Standard English language Dictionary – Try Webster’s.
2. A Comprehensive Medical Dictionary – Try Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary or Stedman’s Medical Dictionary
3. A Good Drug Reference Book – Try Stedman’s Quick Look Drug Book and/or American Drug Index by Facts and Comparisons
4. A Good Medical Abbreviations Book – Try Medical Abbreviations: 30000 Conveniences at the Expense of Communication and Safety by Neil M. Davis
5. A Good General Medical Word Book: Try Sloane’s Medical Word Book
6. A Solid Grammar and Style Guide – Try the Book of Style (AHDI), or the Chicago Book of Style.

In addition to general purpose resources most MT’s will rely from time to time on specialty resources. Every medical specialty has its own peculiar terminology and vocabulary. Radiologists will use an entirely different set of terms to describe their findings compared to an internal medicine specialist, for example. Stedmans offers an entire library of medical word books. These books average $40 a piece and are continually being revised and updated. You would be well advised to hold off on purchasing specific specialty word books until you have a need for them. If you are beginning a new transcription specialty account or expect to be assigned to a specialty work group then a good medical word book is not only invaluable, but should be considered essential. It will add immeasurably to your productivity as a transcriptionist.

Titles from the Stedmans library of Medical Word Books include:

- Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Words
- Dermatology & Immunology Words
- Emergency Medicine Words
- Medical & Surgical Equipment Words
- Neurology & Neurosurgery Words, 4th Edition
- OB-GYN & Pediatric Words, 5th Edition
- Endocrinology Words
- GI & GU Words
- Oncology Words
- Ophthalmology Words
- Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Words
- Orthopedic and Rehab Words
- Plastic Surgery, ENT, & Dentistry Words, 5th Edition
- Internal Medicine Words
- Radiology Words
- Surgery Words
- Organisms and Infectious Diseases Words
- Alternative and Complementary Medicine Words
- Psychiatric Words

As a medical transcription practitioner, you will be continually adding books and resources to your personal library over the years. Be aware that many books are available on CD and increasingly are available online. The ability to search electronically can add significantly to your medical transcription productivity.

Medical Transcription and Healthcare Documentation Industry Publications and Professional Journals

Friday, April 8th, 2011

For those contemplating entry into the medical transcription career field and for experienced transcription practitioners alike, there are a number of outstanding publications focused on the medical transcription industry. These publications contain insightful articles about the profession and serve to keep the community up to date on trends affecting the industry. If you are serious about your career you should make it a practice to subscribe to a few of these medical transcription and healthcare documentation publications to stay abreast of changes in the industry. They also offer a great opportunity to network and become aware of job postings and opportunities. Some of the best publications include the following:

Plexus is a bi-monthly publication of AHDI, the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity. It’s readership includes medical transcriptionists, healthcare documentation and medical records professionals, business owners, MT employers, and others with an interest in the medical transcription profession. More information can be found at

Matrix is another solid bi-monthly publication offered by AHDI. It is focused specifically on the business and technology aspects of the healthcare documentation industry. Information is available at

eBrief – formerly known as Vitals is, according to AHDI, “a weekly e-newsletter designed to keep AHDI members and subscribers informed about news and trends in the industry and the strategic direction and initiatives of the association”. Information is available at

Advance for Health Information Professionals is a bi-monthly publication offered free of charge to health information professionals. Information can be obtained at

For The Record, is an informative publication for health information professionals. Information can be obtained at

Journal of the American Health Information Management Association (Journal of AHIMA), is the official publication of AHIMA. Subscription information is available at the AHIMA website

Journal of Healthcare Information Management, According to HIMSS, “JHIM is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal edited specifically for healthcare information and management systems professionals.” For more information go to: