An Ergonomic Workstation for Medical Transcription - dummies

An Ergonomic Workstation for Medical Transcription

By Anne Martinez

The goal of ergonomic workstation design for your medical transcription work is to facilitate a posture where your joints are naturally aligned in a neutral position.

Desk or other work surface (such as a table)

The work surface should be deep enough to allow you to place your computer monitor at least 20 inches from your eyes and straight in front of you. There should be plenty of room for you to place accessories such as your mouse and keyboard where you can easily reach them.

The desk should provide adequate room for your legs to fit easily underneath and not be constricted. You should be able to reach your keyboard and mouse (or other pointing device) without hunching forward. Unless you’re using a desk specifically designed for computer use, it may be necessary to add a keyboard drawer to accomplish this.

The all-important work chair

Your chair absolutely must be adjustable. At the bare minimum, the chair height and back support should be adjustable.

The chair must provide adequate lumbar support, which means it fits the curve of your spine. Just because a chair provides lumbar support doesn’t mean that support is in the right place for you, which is why it needs to be adjustable.

The seat should be comfortable and at angle that doesn’t place pressure on the underside of your thighs when your feet are on the floor.

If the chair has armrests, they need to be adjustable, too, and soft. Ensure that they don’t bump into your desk or otherwise prevent you from sitting the proper distance from your monitor and keyboard.

The chair should have a solid base with wheels so you can easily move into different positions. If your floor is carpeted, consider purchasing a plastic chair mat from an office supply store. It will allow you to move around more easily and protect your carpet from wear and tear.

Computer equipment for medical transcription

Although it won’t hurt you to work from a laptop occasionally, it just won’t suffice in the long run from an ergonomic perspective. If you’re set on using one, connect it to a full-size keyboard and monitor.

Place your computer monitor directly in front of you, at least 20 inches way. The top of the screen should be at eye level or slightly below.

Keyboard height is very important. It should be at a level that allows you to keep your forearms approximately parallel to the floor and your wrists straight. A little low is better than a little high. You shouldn’t have to stretch or hunch forward to reach the keyboard.

The mouse or other pointer device should be at the same level as your keyboard and immediately alongside it. If you use a keyboard tray, it should be wide enough to accommodate both the keyboard and the pointer device at approximately the same level.

The main computer system unit should be positioned so that it doesn’t impede your movement and isn’t at risk of being knocked over. On the floor beside the desk is a good option. Only put it under the desk if you still have plenty of leg room, though.

Your work environment

Once you’re sitting pretty, the next step is to fine-tune work area lighting. Poor lighting can mess up your carefully obtained ergonomic position by causing your to tilt your head or angle your monitor differently in an attempt to see the screen better.

Be especially vigilant for lighting that’s excessively bright or glare on your computer screen; either one can trigger eye fatigue by making it more difficult to read. Position desk lamps so that they don’t reflect light on the screen and limit brightness immediately around your monitor.

Don’t place your workstation so that you’re facing a window. The sunlight coming from behind your monitor will bother your eyes in the long haul.

Over time, workspace ventilation can be an issue, too. If you’re right beside or beneath an air vent, deflect the air so it doesn’t blow directly on you, and don’t point a fan directly on yourself. It may feel good at first, but most likely it will cause your eyes to become dry and uncomfortable.

The cornerstones to career longevity are using an ergonomically correct workstation and remembering to take frequent, short breaks.