I always loved to type. It started in high school with typing class. We were told that typing was critical for college term papers. I liked it so much that I took advanced typing. It was myself and 12 girls with Farrah Fawcett hair. Heaven.
Fast forward to 2011. My interface with the medical record is my fingers. Most of my communication flows through my hands. I complete the core of my documentation in the exam room. Fast documentation of information at the outset of an encounter allows for meaningful, eye-to-eye dialog during the latter part of the visit.
Those who can’t type have a different experience with their EHR. Sure there’s voice recognition but when pressed they wish they could make a sentence instantly flow onto the screen. Two colleagues this week, one from Barbados and another from the UK, shared difficulty with our American-centric voice recognition software. This technology will improve, however. But beyond EHR there’s email, manuscripts, this blog and the shortlist of real-time social applications that demand typing.
For now the keyboard is my gateway to the world. Typing is arguably the most important skill in how efficiently I work. Perhaps this should be a medical school prerequisite.
My high school graduation gift was a Smith Corona typewriter. My parents had no idea.
And check out this brilliant study by Dr. Wes which suggests that keyboarding skills among physicians are inversely related to age.