Dictation Equipment, 1996 / Computer Cleaning / Computer vulnerabilities / What is Digital? / Faxes and Modems / Two Computers / Digital Message Board / Back to Free Stuff

1997, From Rita Garcia,
I am a proud owner of a PC-Dart. I love mine and would not part with it for anything. I purchased mine because I have a client who is 400 miles away and I call their system and download the dictation. I needed better sound quality. Plus, it is automated now. I just tell it I want one hour of dictation and it gets it or if I want 10 files, I can tell it what I want in either minutes or files. The Dart has excellent sound quality and lots of storage (only limited by the size of your hard drive). Plus, the Dart had more features and is less expensive than the other systems. As I do not have local clients (yet), I have not used the other features. Hopefully someone else has and can help with dial-in features; however, it has many, many features for clinents who want to call in and leave dictation. As well, it can be networked and is used in large MT companies.

If you do not have a Dart dealer, call Dick Cummins at (800) 563-5418 (he is wonderful). Since there were thee of us MTs who purchased at the same time from him, he gave us a 10% discount. As far as I know, the other MTs who purchased with me would not consider selling or giving theirs up.

9/96, from Dick Cummins Twenty-First Century Research
We have several transcription companies that are using ISDN now to transferPC- DART voice files to remote transcriptionists. (I am a dealer for them, of course.) A company in Modesto comes to mind. She has a Motorola BitSurfer Pro and is getting 75 minutes of dictation transferred in 15 minutes or so. Her phone bill is now about one fifth of what it was when she was re-recording and 2000% under what it would be using a C'phone and transcribing live.

Her transcriptionists have DART tanscribe kits ($995.00) and must have $350.00 BitSurfer Pro "Digital Modems" (an oxymoron if ever there was one!) and an ISDN connection into their homes, ($24.00 a month here).

I have been installing stand-alone units and networked versions for nearly an year now and am quite impressed with the value and performance of the equipment. The DART boards fit into any computer so everything is "open architecture" and anyone can work on the equipment. Thus no big maintenance contracts. The voice storage is only limited by the size of the hard drive too. There are many other neat features of DART systems that I won't go into. The software has been on the market for years so it is stable.

Recording over the phone:
8/96, From Judy Karleen-Cole,
Karen asked, "I hope someone out there can give me a little help please. My very best transcriptionist is moving 15 hours away from me and I just can't seem to let her go. Therefore we have decided that I will call her and she will record the work over the phone."

I was one of the previous posters on this subject and all of the machines I talked about at that time have now joined our other extinct species. This is progress? After WEEKS of searching I found one that works well, and the sound is GREAT!!! If she already has a touch-tone phone she can access you and re-record tapes OR digital dictation for an investment of $30. She can also record direct dictation. Straight Talk is available on a lease for $130/month; I don't know the purchase price. PC-Dart on a purchase plan starts around $2000 and goes up depending on the number of ports you need. PC-Dart dealers usually also have lease plans as well.

At least on a trial basis, I would certainly recommend the PhoneMate. For $30 it is almost disposable, and makes a nice answering machine if a user decides to go with a digital system later. Mine worked so well and produced such nice sound that I went back and bought another one for my other phone line. I am thinking now of going back and buying a couple of spares to put in storage in case I have a failure, as I have an idea that this cassette technology may be enjoying its last days; more and more of the recorders have gone to digital technology. For use as an answering machine, the unit also has a time-date stamp, automatic extension disconnect, and it's brain tells you if you need to record a new message or if the unit has slipped it's time programming, which can happen with a power failure.

There is also a handy little gadget available from Hello Direct that allows a transcriptionist to call another transcriptionist and play dictation over the phone to "another set of ears". Very handy for filling in blanks or identification of doctors when they have punched in their ID codes wrong. If YOU want to call HER, this would be the way to go on your end. It is called a Record/Playback Interface (Item 3697G) and sells for $69.95. For dictation recording, it works in conjunction with a transcriber that has built in telephone record features. For dictation playing, you can use it with any transcriber or tape recorder, by just plugging the interface cord into the earphone jack and it plays into your phone line. I do not use mine to record telephone dictation, as the incoming sound quality leaves a lot to be desired, but the outgoing sound quality for playing recorded dictation to someone seems fairly adequate. Toll free order line to request a Hello Direct catalog is 1-800-444-3556.

From Alisha,
My MS mouse has permanently gone on vacation. I purchased a Cirque fingerpad mouse-like device to see how it works. It's a little slow to respond. I got it because the Felix I ordered had not arrived and I finally could not make my mouse work at all. I've just installed the Felix and, while the movement is very smooth and silky, when I push the buttons (mounted on the little movable portion that looks sort of like a flat frog), the frog moves too so I click off the icon, sentence, or whatever. I have not yet installed the driver and will call Altra before I do. It is gentler to use than the mouse, but I need it to stay in place. I've tried a track ball at a friend's computer (my computer-whiz brother likes it best so far) but it seemed a little awkward (I haven't always had the best mind/hand coordination). Just some info which you can use or for MT Daily II or, if anyone asks, you may refer them to me if you like.
From Annie:
Our medical records director is trying to decide betweeen three 'help' systems and would like some input from transcriptionists point of view ,who are familiar with any of these. Systems are: Softmed-chart script; Dolby - stat report maxima; Mdexpress-Artas. Would really appreciate any help with this decision.. Thanks.
From Kathy Cameron:
Annie: Kudos to your MR Director for seeking this input!;) I'm sure you will get good response from this group, but you might also want to send an e-mail to Judy Hinickle, TransVision. We have recently conducted quite a survey, which has included these vendors. Judy is compiling the information for a future article in Perspectives. In addition, Judy makes it a point to stay very current on the latest technology, particularly as it affects the transcriptionist. Judy's e-mail address is

>From my end, I have heard good things about all three of these products. So to evaluate which is best for you, you might want to develop a criteria rating grid, itemizing what features are most important to you and assigning the weight of that importance to each criteria (10% = not real important, 50% = very important, as an example). The weights assigned to each criteria, when added together, cannot add up to more than 100%. Then evaluate each vendor and give them a score (perhaps 1 to 10) on how well their product fulfills your criteria requirements. Multiply the score by the weight to arrive at a final score for each criteria. Last, add up the final scores for each criteria and see which vendor has the highest overall score. This may be the best one for you. It is a very objective way to make a wise decision for your organization. 5/96, from Janet Seig:
My primary hospital client installed SoftMed last July, and it hasn't been as bad as I had feared. I previously used WP5.1 for their work. Now, with the exception of one demographic screen that must be filled out for each report, there is little change. After the demo screen is complete, I hit F7 to get to a WP screen and transcribe the report. Another macro takes me back to the demo screen when the report is finished, then another macro to store the report. That's it! When I am finished transcribing, I exit SoftMed and use a .bat file to modem the work to the hospital via PCAnyWhere.

Their in-house people use straight SoftMed, and there have been very few complaints as far as productivity, etc. The main impact seems to be problems with the interface -- after the work is transcribed it is "merged" via the interface, and at that point decisions such as printer location, automatic faxing of copies, etc., are made from the information entered on the demo screen. The only consistent problems are those caused by having insufficient information to fill in this demo screen -- those reports are rejected and have to be dealt with by hand.

5/96: From Kim LaSavio,
I wanted to share about some great new stuff I've been able to start using lately. I've been transcribing for about 25 years now (maybe someday I'll finish this report...Ha Ha) Remember the Selectrics? and then the CORRECTING Selectrics? Thank goodness for ingenous inventors.

Well, I've been using the same ole' chair and desk situation for years and thought I couldn't do better. I've been having lots of trouble with my feet the last few years; tendinitis, plantar fascitis, etc. The doctors and physical therapists keep asking what kind of athletics I'm doing to injure myself - I do try to walk every day, but that's about it. So they were all stumped. And my feet still hurt, especially when I was working. I had a stand for the foot pedal to raise my feet so the chair wouldn't cut off the circulation in my legs, and a pull-out keyboard drawer to lower the keyboard so my wrists were neutral. I thought I was really being clever. But I was still hurting.

I was complaining about my feet to my transcriptionist friend a while ago and she suggested it may be stress from my position while keyboarding and that she and her husband were selling a new support system that might help. I was skeptical to say the least and promptly forgot about it. Then I was at her home the other day and sat at HER work station - WOW! What a difference. I decided to give her equipment a try, and I am amazed. I have worked with this for one day and my foot pain of two years is gone. I suppose this sounds like snake oil or something, but I can't believe it myself.

This involves a new chair which is a high-end executive chair with multiple adjustments and SUPPORT of most of my back, rear and upper legs (my old chair was a typical stenographer's chair with a low back). My upper body is supported by what she calls an upper body support system (I think...) It's a keyboard table with padded steel supports for my wrists and upper arms. I can put all my upper body weight on it if I want, it's that sturdy. It also has multiple height and width adjustments. I feel sort of like I'm strapped in a cockpit or something, but all I know is for the first time in many years I can comfortably rest my feet on the floor, my back doesn't hurt, and my upper body is relaxed. And my feet don't hurt, either. I would be happy to send business to my friend if anyone wants to contact me.

MT Daily Homepage