Copyediting a medical analysis work product for a legal matter differs from copyediting a blog post or white paper. Aside from grammatical editing, proofreading a work product requires verifying that the information in the work product matches the information that is in the medical records. Accurate documentation is critical for client success.
Legal Nurse Consultants (LNCs) do not always have access to a copy editor to proofread their work products. Attention to detail and concise communication are fundamental skills for LNCs.
Here are five tips to keep in mind while self-proofing your work:
1.) Focus on the details most important to the client
Each client will have a specific set of items and details that are most important to their particular matter. The accuracy of these items is vital. Common items include:
- Bates references
- Patient and provider names
- Product identification and lot numbers
- Specimen numbers
- Laboratory results
- Medication dosages and quantities
- Times, heights, weights, ages, and other miscellaneous numbers
2.) Self-proof in small batches
Some matters will include large quantities of medical records. Try to proof in small batches, such as per packet of records, or split up large packets. This will help to identify issues such as hyperlink failures or report formatting issues early in the process.
3.) Utilize spelling/grammar check
It is important to run a spelling/grammar check on your work product. Tips for using the spellcheck function include:
- Quickly access the tool by pressing the F7 key on your keyboard.
- Ensure the “check grammar” box is checked.
- The tool may bring up proper nouns or medical terms that it does not recognize that is not misspelled, and it will not always catch words outs of context (Ex: “lumber” vs. “lumbar”).
- Be sure to use “Ignore All,” “Change All,” and “Add to Dictionary” cautiously.
4.) Date verification
Accurate date representation is imperative in medical analysis. Try approaching date proofing as a separate objective than the spelling and grammar. Tips include:
- Ensure dates are in chronological order.
- Look for dates that have extra or missing digits, missing slashes, or are formatted incorrectly/inconsistently.
- Double-check dates that represent the current year. Sometimes we type the current year out of habit.
5.) Be attuned to your error tendencies
Attune to the errors you tend to make. For example, maybe you tend to misspell “ibuprofen” or to leave the last page off of a bates range. If you find an error, make sure to correct all instances of that error. By pressing Ctrl + F on your keyboard you can search the entire document for all instances of a particular word or name.
Though proofreading your work product is the final step of the medical analysis process, it is also the most important. It not only guarantees a quality product for your client, but it also creates and maintains a credible reputation for yourself as an LNC professional.