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
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.
Spell out all nonmetric measurements: feet, inches, pounds, ounces, yards, grain, etc.
Correct: She is 5 feet tall.
Incorrect: She is 5 ft. tall.
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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