Yesterday, I sat here at the desk and banged out the lines. I didn’t check e-mail, I didn’t check Facebook, I didn’t answer the phone, I didn’t eat, I hardly even peed. I got over 2000 lines. I was also lucky to have pretty good dictators that I am familiar with. I was pretty proud of myself. I can do this, I thought.
Today, we got a memo from “the new guys”. Oh, yeah, I forgot, our company got bought a few months ago. Now instead of being “The Medical Transcription Company”, we are now “The Medical Transcription Company–A Division of The BIGGER Medical Transcription Company”. Whee. We were all assured that “nothing will change”. Right. The biggest lie in corporate culture, and we fall for it every time. Well, we don’t really fall for it, but we pretend to, because what else can you do when you’re stuck in a vise about to be screwed up the ass with no lube?
Today, the memo comes out that for those transcriptionists who do “speech” we will now be required to do 300 (THREE HUNDRED) lines per hour. Previously, the minimum requirement was 187, which is doable but can be iffy, depending on the file, the sound quality, the dictator, the specialty, etc. (I’m good at cardiology and I SUCK at ophthalmology.)
Three hundred lines an hour is insane! For those of you who wonder what I mean by “speech” it means that the report has been run through speech “recognition” software and supposedly comes to you “ready”, i.e. the text is already in the document, and all you have to do is listen to it and “edit” it to make it perfect to send back. Sounds simple, quick and efficient, right? Hardly.
Take a dictator with a heavy Chinese accent, or Indian, or Spanish, or even Southern, for that matter. The words come through, all right, but they don’t MEAN anything. It’s just a bunch of words strung together, however the “recognition” software has “recognized them”. “Ibuprofen” can come out as “I didn’t know them.” Like that. Then, there’s the whole matter of templates. They have templates for the various reports that the docs do, right? But does the text of the report actually GO in the headings of those templates? Oh, no, THAT would be too easy and efficient. All the text crams itself down at the bottom of the document, and we must then cut and paste it into the right section, as well as making sure that the words are correct, the spacing is correct, etc. etc. etc. Trust me, it is a lot EASIER to just type.
Now, there are dictators who are both fast and consistent. They say the same thing over and over and over each time they dictate. Even the variations are predictable. Those folks are simple. But just now, I did 2 “speech” reports in an hour. Two. Both with dictators who I have done before but with extremely heavy accents not of American origin (really have no idea WHAT country either of them are from). They were 2 fairly long reports, one over 10 minutes and one around that long. I worked straight through them, not pausing other than to let the files load. Total lines? 179.53. I don’t think I have EVER, in 3 years of typing, done 300 lines of text in an hour. Maybe a very few times, but certainly not 8 hours a day, day after day.
I don’t want to sound all negative and defeatist and all that crap, but there’s only so long a person can sit and JUST type before they have to move. Have to pee or stretch or do something besides type.
I just can’t tell you how completely bummed out I am. Plus, I just got my 2-week paid vacation approved for May, but I seriously doubt I will be here that long. How can I? There’s no way I’m going to make 300 lines, no matter how good I am. The only thing I can do is keep working as hard as I can and be as productive as I can and as accurate, and if they want to terminate me for not being “up to par” well, then I guess that’s what they’re going to have to do.
Time to update the resume.
Wish me luck.