In 2011 I wrote about typing as a critical physician skill. Things haven’t changed much. Voice recognition has improved but admittedly only works in certain contexts. Typing remains key. It’s the interface to the digital world. You can quibble about EHRs but the critical nature of keyboarding goes well beyond records and impacts how we connect to the world.
As I suggested, fast documentation of information at the outset of an encounter allows for meaningful, eye-to-eye dialog during the latter part of the visit. Typing is arguably the most important skill in how efficiently I work.’ ‘For now the keyboard is my gateway to the world.
Voice first interfaces will find their way to medicine and take ‘dictation’ to a higher level. But not this year. And not with Epic or Cerner.
Critical keyboarding – Would you hire a doctor who can’t type?
My first impulse is to be hesitant. But I work with plenty of colleagues who hunt and peck. I’m sure they’re offended by the question but it remains a compelling one. Because keyboarding is a reality.
Here’s what I’d recommend to the applicant who can’t type:
- Learn to type. This might be the easiest solution. As I suggested, the keyboard is the interface to the world.
- Don’t tell me you can’t type. If you hunt and peck really fast, there’s no need to make a point about your typing. You type, it’s just a little maladaptive.
- Understand that dictation is not a substitute. Voice recognition has come into its own but that doesn’t do much for you in the exam room when hammering out last minute recs on the AVS. Dictation works well in certain fields of the EHR while sitting in a quiet room. Not so much at the bedside using a computer on wheels.
Photo by Florian Klauer