Medical Transcription Number Rules


Medical transcription has industry specific rules, guidelines and protocols. The authoritative source that outlines these rules is "The Book of Style for Medical Transcription, 3rd edition." Medical transcriptionists are responsible for employing medical transcription number rules and if the rules are followed, patient medical records will be accurate and medical mistakes can be avoided.

Consecutive Number Rule

  • When two numbers are consecutive, spell out one of them for clarity and to prevent dosage errors.

    Correct: Tylenol 500 one daily
    Incorrect: Tylenol 500 1 daily

Drug Dosage Rule

  • Use zeros before drug dosages when decimals are used to avoid misreading the dosage as greater than 1.0 when the decimal is overlooked. This helps eliminate mistakenly omitting the decimal.

    Correct: Lidocaine 0.75 mg/kg
    Incorrect: Lidocaine .75 mg/kg

Fraction Rule

  • Use numbers to express mixed fractions.

    Correct: 1 ½ years
    Incorrect: one and a half years

Beginning Sentence Number Rule

  • Do not start a sentence with a number.

    Correct: Tylenol 500 mg was administered stat.
    Incorrect: 500 milligrams of Tylenol was administered stat.

Number Series Rule

  • Use numbers if at least one is greater than nine or if there is a mixed decimal or fraction.

    Correct: David has 1 job, 1 place of employment and 12 hours a day to do the work.
    Incorrect: David has one job, one place of employment and 12 hours a day to do the work.

Numbers for Age Rule

  • Use numbers to express ages.

    Correct: She is 2 years old.
    Incorrect: She is two years old.

Measurements Rule

Plural Rule

  • Do not use an apostrophe to make a number plural.

    Correct: He was born in the 1990s.
    Incorrect: He was born in the 1990’s.

Unusual Units of Measure Rule

  • Abbreviate most unusual units of measure when accompanied by numbers.

    Correct: 0.9 sq cm
    Incorrect: 0.9 centimeters squared

    Correct: 20 mmHg
    Incorrect: 20 milligram of mercury

    Correct: 2.0 L/min
    Incorrect: 2.0 liters per minute

    Correct: 40 mm/h
    Incorrect: 40 millimeters per hour

    Correct 10 gm%
    Incorrect: 10 grams percent

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