A sequence of events leads me to take the liberty of suggesting that a considerable number of physicians may, through a very simple measure, make their lives much better.
Whilst clearing away some old files I encountered four pages ripped out of Family Circle magazine and dated 6 June 1980. The article was entitled “Learn to Type Well in Two Weeks” by Jack Tarrant. Having stood in line on numerous occasions observing colleagues, who in most fields of endeavor were more than merely capable, as they struggled to find the list of hospital patients using the “hunt and peck” technique, I reflected that there was nothing to lose by following the directions. After 2 weeks of diligent practice, the QWERTY keyboard was no longer a mystery and my goal of three words a minute was attained. It was in many ways like listening to my younger family members learning to play the violin: in other words, pretty awful. However help was at hand, and when I met the lady who for many years had run the office she suggested that for a small sum a software disc with a typing program could be purchased and that the junior school students find it helpful. Now it is easy to rattle off a letter to the editor on my Pentium M instead of using that scratchy quill pen.
Incidentally the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine notes that a survey of London hospital physicians revealed the surprising fact that 20% could not use a keyboard without looking at the keys and that 5% had not used a computer mouse!
—H.E. Woolley, MD
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Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
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