Dictation Commands to Improve Your Medical Transcriptions

When you dictate a text, your instructions need to be as clear as possible for maximum accuracy. There are times when you want to highlight, bold or underline particular words. As well, you may want to use parentheses and quotation marks. To clearly indicate these commands to the transcriptionist, try using this method. Say “STOP” before any command to indicate that you are going to give a specific command.

For instance, to bold specific test, say ‘STOP’, then say, ‘in bold type ……’, followed by “STOP BOLD”. And continue dictating.

For parentheses, say “STOP, open parentheses …… close parentheses”.

You can also use this technique to indicate specific instructions, such as to add your credentials into a letter, to add a chart, or to indicate that you will dictate a portion of the letter or report at a later time (such as waiting on laboratory results or diagnostic imaging reports). To continue the dictation after the instructions, use ‘Resume dictation’ to let the transcriptionist know that you are back to dictating.

For example:

Indicate that you are giving a dictation command To begin To end
Stop in figures Stop figures
Stop in capitals Stop capitals
Stop underline type Stop underline
Stop spelled (use the phonetic alphabet from Feb 2010 Dictation Tips)
Stop in bold Stop bold
Stop Open parentheses Close parentheses
Stop Open quotation marks Close quotation marks


Dictating numbers:

0 Zero (not ‘o’ which is a letter, not a number)
1,000 One thousand (not just ‘thousand’)
2.55 Two decimal five five (or two point five five)


Check our medical transcription dictation tips next month to learn more.

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