In a manner of speaking

I never thought I'd embrace dictation.

For emergency physicians, dictation varies department to department. Some require it, some make it an option, and for others it's an exotic luxury. For my part, I'd seen too many errors in transcription and watched too many colleagues struggle with a phrase over and over to get enthusiastic about it. I never considered investing in dictation software for my own workflow, since I'm not a bad typist and it wasn't something my department was offering to us.

Along came iOS 5 for the new iPad, and suddenly I found myself dictating emails and short messages. Dictation seems like a natural fit for the iPad, since I can't type particularly quickly on it, and I'm not writing or editing long pieces on it.

Plus, I enjoy Apple's style of dictation, where my phrase or sentence remains invisible as it's transported to their servers for transcription. This process has been derided as a step backward, by folks who are used to desktop dictation software showing your transcription word-by-word, on screen. But mentally checking each word can be its own distraction, and disrupts flow. Plus, Apple's way of doing dictation seems more like a fun gamble to see if they got the whole sentence correct. 

So, when OS X Mountain Lion came out this week, with its Siri-like dictation feature, I finally gave computerized dictation a chance to help with my charting. 

First, a couple of concessions: