Sunday, November 30, 2014


The other PA where I work has been promoted to interim lab director in a week or so, which I hope will be a good experience for her! As a result I'm now verifying the charges for the cases we do. I haven't  dealt with that much since leaving school but it is a good skill to have. It goes a lot faster now that I've refamiliarized myself with things and I don't have to think about the specimen types we see all the time.

I have other things I need to blog about but because of those other things, I haven't had too much spare time! Maybe in a few days.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Revisiting Duke

So last month one of my favorite bands was playing on a Monday night in Chapel Hill and I spent the preceding weekend in Durham revisiting old haunts. Since I was there on a weekday, I thought I'd take the opportunity to go back to campus and the hospital (the VA was closed since it was Columbus day). There was a bakery in the little town that I lived in that makes these amazing yeast donuts and I would bring them in sometimes, so I had called ahead and ordered five dozen to commit myself to going to visit (so easy to have the intentions but elect to sleep in more otherwise).

I got to see the renovated autopsy suites (SO BRIGHT!) and they've added lifts to help move the bodies, it is a nice improvement! Plus it was good to say hi to the autopsy folks and I popped into say a quick hello to Pam, the course director, and drop off donuts with her for the PA students.

Getting donuts to surge path was an ordeal... they moved to a new lab and it is further back from public areas. I didn't have an ID badge anymore or the number for the lab, but I ran into some residents I knew (they weren't going to surge path unfortunately) that gave me the direct number which helped immensely. I was able to call and someone came out so I was finally able to make the donut delivery!

It should be noted, that it makes me intensely uncomfortable to be somewhere like that without context. So I didn't stick around. It is nice to see people and catch up, but I'm also aware of the fact they're working and I don't want to overstay my welcome. Plus I had one more donut delivery to make! A small thank you for the friend that gives me a place to stay, who works downtown close to everything.

The concert was amazing and I had a great time in Durham, as always, and I felt slightly less bad about always going back to the area but never visiting!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A week with Voicebrook

First off, I'm so pleased at how much I remember about navigating the software. Go me! It has made the transition smoother than it could have been otherwise. That and my keyboard is a lot more accessible than it was last time I started using voice transcription software. Right now I'm doing things around 80% with voice controls and 20% with mouse clicks and typing.

Second, it makes everything take longer. A big contributor to that is how long each window takes to open, and that we're opening more windows than before. It is 5-10 seconds here and there, but it adds up. Then there's the proofreading and the editing, but I'm sure that will improve as I use it more and the software gets better trained. At least I hope so. I'm used to being able to cut while dictating instead of having to stop every time I say something to watch the words going into transcription to make sure they are the right words in the right place.

The net time turn around time is lower because it doesn't have to get dictated, go into the queue for the transcriptionists, and then transcribed. But it used to be handled by me and the transcriptionists, instead of just me... Meanwhile, the transcriptionists, who are still doing a bit of transcription (we'll just say that the doctors are easing into using Voicebrook, rather than going cold turkey), are picking up other administrative duties in addition to the ones they were already doing. What will happen long term remains to be seen.

Overall the software works well, the accuracy is 95%+ and that's good. But oh, that few percent that it isn't getting can be so frustrating!! Cholelith vs choleliths and having to correct things like 3 vessels to three vessels. I remind myself that it comes with training and it isn't nearly as bad as it was the last time I went through this 4 years ago.

I have added to the stock of templates with some personalized ones. Also, I've prefilled some bits with things that are the case much more often than not, like the aforementioned three vessels. It saves time to default to that and change it when it isn't right than to dictate something over and over. I'm working on maintaining a good attitude about it, mostly because I don't have a choice in the matter so might as well suck it up and forge on with what I have to work with. Hopefully speed will pick up.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Neglect, but interesting things upcoming

My laptop is not currently working, so I've been doing most of my internet accessing on my phone. It isn't the best way to blog, which is one reason why there haven't been any updates lately. Also... I don't have any study obligations this year, so I've gone INSANE with Halloween! I started sewing in August. I love it!

Next week we're transitioning from live transcriptionists to Voicebrook, so that'll be something worth talking about. I have experienced training my Dragon (medical) and it'll be interesting to compare the medical version to the pathology specific one. Voicebrook is specifically tailored to pathology, but Dragon had a solid pathology vocabulary built into it as part of the larger medical lexicon. Personally, I'm more concerned about how it will interact with our version of Cerner since there are different active windows that I'll have to navigate either using the mouse or with voice commands. I know the software folks say that voice navigation will be easy and intuitive but we'll see.

Attitudes at work are not entirely enthusiastic about the switch, but the powers that be want it, so we're going with it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

"On the job training with lectures"

A pathologist on reddit (yeah, I know, it is reddit... you can't take it too seriously) just described the Pathologist Assistant education as "on the job training with lectures".

Well... isn't all medical training that? Clinical rotations are OJT in a much more standardized form where you try to ensure that every student passing through has roughly the same guidelines and instruction. And sure, I guess if you wanted to be dismissive you could describe a grueling year of medical education as "lectures".

I suppose, if you wanted to paint with such broad strokes medical school, residency, and fellowships are also OJT with lectures. Nursing is OJT with lectures. Physicians assistants get OJT and lectures. I would hope that in regular life the pathologist who posted is not quite so dismissive of other's education.