Choosing a Digital Recorder

Medical transcription is a good choice for many physicians.  Once you’ve made the decision to use a digital recorder instead of a telephone dictation system, you need to choose the best recorder for the job.

The advantages of using a digital recorder vs. a tape recorder for your medical transcription are significant.  Voice recorders on tape deteriorate with time, and can be influenced, and corrupted, by magnetic fields.  With digital recorders, each recording can be created in a new file.  If you have a file that needs to be transcribed urgently, the medical transcriptionist can easily move to the selected file without having to fast forward through your entire tape recording.  Digital recorder files can be moved electronically, eliminating the need for pricey couriers, and reducing the turnaround time of your transcribed documents.  And tapes wear out and break.

Considerations for choosing a digital recorder are:

  1. Suitability for medical transcription
    When choosing a digital recorder for your medical transcription needs, first and foremost make sure that it is one that is suitable for medical transcription.  Some digital recorders are designed for personal use and only record and playback on the unit itself.  And with some of them, the file types are not compatible for play with medical transcription equipment.
  2. Recording time
    While some recorders can store up to 250 hours of recordings, that is not realistic for your medical transcription needs.  And generally, the longer the storage time, the poorer the voice quality.  For medical transcription, you want the best voice quality.
  3. Data Storage & Organization
    Does the digital recorder have more than one folder?  This can be handy for different types of dictations – letters, medical-legal reports and patient notes, or for practices where more than one physician will use the digital recorder.  And does it have an eternal storage device (a memory card or stick) or is it internal memory only?
  4. Recorder features
    What data is displayed?  What information can you enter to identify folders or physicians?  Does it have a cue/review feature?  How does it feel in your hand?  Are the buttons sizes appropriate for the size of your hand or is it awkward to press them?  Consider whether you want a slide on the side of the recorder to start, pause and stop recording, or buttons.
  5. Connectivity
    If you’re going to use the recorder for medical transcription, it must be able to connect to your computer.  The choices are directly through a USB cable or with a docking station.  The docking station stays permanently plugged into your computer and has a footprint on your desk.  The disadvantage of this is that it takes up desk space, and you can only download from the one docking station.  The other option, a USB cable, takes up less space, allows you to download to any computer, but it is easy to either leave the cable behind, or to lose it if you’re moving it from computer to computer.

Your digital recorder is a tool, and you need to choose the one that best supports your medical transcription requirements.  If you need help selecting a particular model, call 2Ascribe for more information.

2Ascribe Inc., providing you with quality medical transcription – your way!

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

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