What users say about Instant Text

Watching Cassie Long do Meditech at 9.8 in Dallas

by Jean Ichbiah

Posted Aug 4, 2002 on the Instant Text Forum

We were in Dallas Friday and Saturday for the AAMT Annual Convention where we demonstrated Instant Text V Pro. As we've done in previous such occasions, we asked a local MT to help us do the demonstrations — It is always more convincing when you see a real user of the product, someone who is using it on a daily basis: Marianne does good demos but I am rather limited by my addiction to the backspace key and a real user is something else.

This time, we had the pleasure to have Cassie Long, who has been a long time user of prior versions of Instant Text and a beta-tester of IT V. And it was one more of these occasions where you finally come to meet someone with whom you've had long interactions by email or phone.

Cassie was real dynamite.

When we finally, looked at the productivity dialog at the end of the second day, we found this amazing 9.8 characters per keystroke! In the middle of the first day, she did one hour of Meditech report entry in radiology. I had always considered Meditech to be an arcane and inconvenient system but Cassie definitely proves the contrary: I have never seen radiology reports produced so fast!

Some typists mentally associate speed with an intense continuous noise of clicking keyboard keys. No such thing with Cassie. Not that much noise, and the delivery appears to follow the dictation with occasional pauses, never running in the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome speed zone. And she does use the backspace key occasionally (not as much as I do, of course :) to select another expansion.

So where is this productivity coming from? Cassie is using a huge glossary with a majority of phrase entries. (Cassie rarely uses word entries except for very long words and medication; she does not use singles either.) This glossary was produced over the years by compiling numerous radiology reports. She appears to have done it in several stages. She started by converting a PRD list and, over the time, merged 15 to 20 such glossaries to form the current CassiePlus.glo.

As is to be expected from a glossary produced by compilation, hers is extremely rich in continuations. Watching her, we you could see here and there a quick pause to catch a continuation — the real secret of being very fast.

Over the two days we met an IT user who claims to be typing so fast that she doesn't have the time to watch advisories. But let's do some quick calculation: Cassie may have paused half a second to catch a 40-character continuation. Will anyone ever type 40 characters in half a second? Of course not. It's like saying "I was in such a hurry to get to the airport that I did not take my car and ran instead..." Sometimes the way to be very fast is to pause for a split second and do the right thing.

Of course, Cassie and I are in danger of forming another mutual admiration society as she seems as impressed by our program as I am with her performance. And it's true that Marianne and I felt very proud and gratified to be producing something that is contributing to this kind of very high performance.

Not to betray her thick Texan accent (here we disagree: she thinks my French accent is thicker :) she brought us to see something that is really Texan on Saturday evening: We watched "Team Penning," where three horse riders try to separate three cows from the herd, some of them in less than thirty seconds, and with no Instant Text to help them! Very impressive too!

Thanks Cassie for a forceful demonstration, a very pleasant two days and such a nice final evening.

Jean Ichbiah