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Foot Pedals – An Invaluable Dictation Accessory for Medical Transcription


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Foot pedal or WAV pedal is used in medical transcription, which enables you to control dictation playback using your toes. The pedals typically consist of three components – Play (center portion), Fast Forward (left rectangular bar) and Rewind (right rectangular bar). You can simply put your foot on the center portion to listen to the doctor’s dictation while tapping on left bar will let you advance through the dictation and tapping on the left bar will allow you back up through dictation. By tapping multiple times on either bar, you can move backwards or forward faster. Let’s see how foot pedals help in transcription.

Foot Pedal -- a Valuable Dictation Equipment Accessory The process of transcribing medical reports often involves playing voice files (doctor’s dictation), listening to it and typing into the computer. Though programs like Windows Media Player can help you in this process, most of us are not able to type as fast as someone talks and lose much time for rewinding or forwarding the recordings in between typing. In su ch a scenario, foot pedals are quite useful for medical transcriptionists in the following ways. 

Since foot pedals allows medical transcriptionists to pause, play, rewind, forward, slow down or speed up the recording by simply placing the foot on the pedals, they can keep their hands free for transcribing the medical reports and avoid losing time for switching between play/pause, forward and rewind buttons.

Foot pedals enable medical transcriptionists to set a predetermined backup of several words to an entire sentence so that they can read back over what they have typed and ensure everything is correct. As this tool is automatic as soon as they take their foot off the pedal and reapply them, it is possible to listen to the last bit they have typed.

This tool is helpful for medical transcription companies and their proofreaders and editors too as they can listen to a portion in the dictation when needed without listening to the entire dictation. On the whole, foot pedals will make transcription easier, faster and accurate. This tool will also increase transcription productivity.

Different Types of Foot Pedals There are two common types of foot pedals depending on the connectors used for plugging them into a computer or transcriber device such as: 

USB Foot Pedals – This type of foot pedals are widely used today. They use USB connector, the small rectangular plug that can be plugged into a USB port. Usually, USB foot pedals do have software that you need to install into your computer to enhance the performance. But, now they are just plug and play devices which you can plug into the USB port in your computer, wait until your computer recognizes the device as new hardware and use it. All that you should do is set backup parameters and select it (USB foot pedals) with your transcription software as the foot pedal or player device of choice.


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Serial Foot Pedals – This kind of foot pedals use a DB-9 serial connector or 9-pin serial connector that can be plugged into 9 pins stick out on the back of your computer. These pins are seen on computers more than 5 years old. Newer computers are equipped with ample USB ports. If you want to use serial foot pedals with new computers (especially laptops that only have USB ports), you have to buy an adapter cable to plug this device into an open USB port. That is why most medical transcriptionists today use USB foot pedals.

Even though almost all foot pedals function similarly, some transcription software will work only with a particular type of connector. Also, some programs will not recognize certain kinds of foot pedals. So, when you are planning to use or purchase foot pedals, make sure that they are compatible with your transcription platform.

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Foot Pedals – An Invaluable Dictation Accessory for Medical Transcription