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Choose a Keyboard and Mouse for Medical Transcription Work

Here are some tips for choosing a keyboard and mouse for your at-home medical transcription work. Remember to think about ergonomics when choosing these items, as you will likely be spending long hours using them.

Keyboards for medical transcription

There’s no “right” medical transcription keyboard, and what’s ideal for one medical transcriptionist can feel awkward to another. If possible, try out multiple keyboards before making a decision. Office superstores and electronics outlets are great places to get hands-on experience before you pick “the one.”

Ergonomic keyboards are designed to align your wrists and hands in a more natural, theoretically carpal-tunnel-resistant position. They do so by splitting the keys down the middle and angling the halves slightly outward. Many people find them more comfortable, but people with narrow shoulders may find a standard rectangular keyboard works better.

Here are the features to consider:

  • Cursor keys arranged in an upside-down T configuration (with the up arrow positioned above the other three keys) are more intuitive and comfortable to use than cursor keys arranged in a straight row.

  • Some keyboards include extra keys that perform common functions, like turning speaker volume up and down. It seems like such a small thing, but it adds a lot of convenience. In some cases the keys are programmable, so you can create a multi-part macro, assign it to one of the keys, and execute it with a single tap.

Mouse or trackball for medical transcription

Your computer needs a pointer device of some kind — a mouse, trackball, or, for a laptop, a built-in touchpad. Ideally you’ll be keeping your hands on your keyboard and making only minimal use of the pointing device, so the details aren’t as important as other aspects of your setup. Nonetheless, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Ergonomic mice and trackballs are much more comfortable to use. Lefties, you may be living in a righty world, but there are pointing devices specifically designed for you.

  • If your work surface is limited in size, consider a trackball. They stay in one spot, so there’s no mouse pad or extra desk space required.

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