AHDI-West’s Book of Style Webinar

AHDI-West wants to show you how to use the AHDI Book of Style 3rd Ed.

Am I the only one who thinks that if AHDI had done a good job in layout and design, we wouldn’t need lessons on how to use the book?

I was doing some research for updates to the MT Reference Style Guide this last week and discovered why people may need lessons on how to use the book.

There are confusing discrepancies and contradictions between the text and the samples.

I’m interested to see how they address that in a webinar.

If you have the book, look at section 10.3.9 Money (pp. 246-248).

For numbers less than one dollar, use numerals; spell out and lowercase cents. Do not use the decimal form. Do not use the dollar sign ($). Do not use the cent sign (¢) except in tables.

8 cents not $.08 or 8¢

20 cents not 20¢ or $.20

It then notes an exception for tables and moves on to:

For amounts over one dollar, use the dollar sign ($) preceding the dollar amount, and separate dollars and cents by a decimal point. Do not use a decimal following the dollar amount if cents are not included.


$40 not $40.00 (unless listed in a column with other amounts that include cents)

Are you with me so far? Stay with me while we cover ranges in money values (bottom of page 247).

For ranges, repeat the dollar sign or cent sign, but do not repeat the word forms. Use to instead of a hyphen with a dollar-sign or cent-sign forms.

$4 to $5 not $4-$5.

10¢ to 15¢ not 10¢-15¢

I had to read this about 20 times to figure out that NOW there’s an exception to the “do not use the cent sign except in tables” instruction at the bottom of page 246. Because apparently, it should read: “do not use the cent sign except in tables and ranges.

I’m starting to understand why a webinar might be necessary.

Moving on to the top of page 248:

Use to with word forms.

4 to 5 dollars not $4-5 dollars.

10 to 15 cents not 10-15 cents.

Wait a minute. Back on page 247, it says we use the dollar or cent sign in ranges. Why are we spelling it out now?

I hope they cover that in the webinar.

More confusion on page 248:

Do not use the possessive form with compound adjectives.

a 2-dollar bill.

Again – why are we spelling out the word dollar? According to the instructions on page 247, amounts over a dollar use a dollar sign ($).

I’m confused and this is only 3 pages. I’m beginning to wonder if 2 hours is enough time to explain everything.

In contrast, I refer to section 4 of the Gregg Reference Manual, which clearly states:

An isolated, nonemphatic reference to money may be spelled out.

two hundred dollars
nearly a thousand dollars
a twenty-dollar bill
like a million dollars

That might provide some clarity to the examples used – if there was an explanation in the AHDI BOS. But there isn’t. And why should you have to refer to both books to get some clarity?

Of course, this could be just a sales pitch for the book. Attendees are advised that they should have a copy before they attend the webinar. I wonder if AHDI-West gets an affiliate percentage of the books sold as a result of this webinar.

The bottom line is that because the book is in print and not electronic format, it can’t be changed. The solution – give a webinar and charge people $45 to learn how to use the print version of the book after they’ve paid $50 (members) or $70 (nonmembers) for it. I hope you don’t mind making notes in the margins – you’re going to need them. Alternatively, you can pay $30 a year to get the electronic (searchable) version. I’m also wondering if they’re going to do a webinar on the electronic version or if there are plans to update it to clear up any errors or confusing text and examples.

I’m thinking I need to spend more time on the MT Reference Style Guide so MTs have a free, searchable, updated style guide that is comprehensive and complete. Shameless plug: Feel free to participate in the style guide creation. Your comments and feedback on the content is welcome and appreciated.

My diploma for a job

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9 thoughts on “AHDI-West’s Book of Style Webinar”

  1. I think you are giving the organization way too much credit.

    Just from reading that webinar notice my first impression was (and still is) that the organization simply thinks MTs who buy the book, member or nonmember, are just too darn dumb to figure out how to use a reference material all by themselves.


  2. Does every company that has medical transcription jobs go by this though? isn’t it better to follow the transcription standards that the particular company wants?

  3. Any company transcribing for a large hospital or teaching hospital has probably been told to follow the most recent AHDI Book of Style Guidelines. If you’re doing clinic or smaller hospitals, it isn’t always specified.

  4. I'm just blown away by this, Julie.  All these sentences and paragraphs, etc., telling people how to type dollars and cents in a document.  Does it really matter if I put $40 or $40.00?  Really?  Seriously?  This is just a mess.  I think transcriptionists who are required to use BOS (unless they know BOS very well) are so worried about getting every little miniscule thing right (according to BOS)…that they make errors on bigger things.  They really should be concentrating on learning the medical words–i.e., learning the language of medicine.  To have to worry about being nitpicked to death (or possibly having your pay decreased because you put $40.00 rather than $40)…is absurd. 
    Thank you God, that for 35 years now I have worked for places and people who did not require BOS.  My pay never suffered; I wasn't made to feel stupid if I did make a mistake; I have learned so much in the field of medicine; the list goes on and on.  I had a pretty good grammar base to begin with-so, that's probably helped me in correcting grammar, verbage, etc.  I am so thankful that the places and people I have transcribed for have had no problems with my work.  I am fearful for my future–if required to use BOS for every little thing. 

  5. "
    More confusion on page 248:

    Do not use the possessive form with compound adjectives.
    a 2-dollar bill.

    Again – why are we spelling out the word dollar? According to the instructions on page 247, amounts over a dollar use a dollar sign ($)."
    This one is interesting.  I understand the idea that in a compound adjective form you normally use a hyphen, as in "one-way street", thus "a 2-dollar bill", with dollar spelled out, is logical.  You obviously wouldn't type it as "a 2-$ bill."  But, I thought monetary notation was an exception, as I usually have seen it (in general use, not transcription; I mean, how often does this really come up in a medical report?) as "a $2 bill." 

  6. As someone studying for my CMT, I have to totally agree. I have transcribed previously, taken a break for a couple of years, and am coming back. I have been so confused by the Book of Style versus what I learned in school, albeit several years ago, with the likes of the Gregg Reference Manual and a very strict "old-school" English teacher. Any suggestions you could offer as to how to approach studying the Book of Style, since that is what the certification exam is based on, would be ever so helpful.  

  7. Hi VIcki. My name is Ann. I just completed a certification course online, Simplistic Solutions, & it is not AHDI accredited.Should I buy the text book? And I am having a very hard time finding a job. Can you offer suggestions on who hires entry level applicants? Eventually, I hope to get out on my own…my life is just too crazy right now! Lol! Thank you very much. I hope to hear from you soon!

  8. Wow, I actually just stumbled across this page as I was looking to buy a BOS. I am currently in my 6th month of a MT course and they flog BOS to death. Everything is look in BOS. Personally I hardly ever use it just because I find it to confusing. And as is pointed out full of discrepencies. Me and another girl I met through the course were also wondering how necessary a lot of the stuff they are docking points for and picking about are necessary. For me it just gives me a headache and more frustrated. Glad I found you ladies.

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