The Great Communicator

Years ago – when I was a member of AAMT (now AHDI) – I was defending them to a fellow medical transcriptionist, who said:

They have a communication problem.

And my response to him was something along the lines of…

They communicate, but people don’t seem to understand their message.

His response was very succinct, and accurate.

That sounds like a communication problem to me.

That was many years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. Because nearly every time I read a communication by an AHDI official spokesperson, I’m reminded of it. In fact, I think it’s gotten worse, because now they’re communicating in social media, and with about the same success rate.

Today’s case in point: AHDI Lounge – TRSi to Train Medical Scribes.

Let me say to start: congratulations to AHDI for what appears to be a bigger effort to allow a conversation on their blog. Either they hit a particularly hot topic here, or they’re allowing more of a conversation than they have in the past. I’m going to give them the benefit of a doubt and say it’s probably a combination of the two.

On the negative side? Jay Vance’s “blogging” style, which consists of nothing more than copying and pasting a large part of a news item or someone else’s blog post. Jay? This is not blogging. It’s not even reporting. If you have nothing original to say, then just syndicate content from other blogs and stop pretending that you’re blogging. And look up Fair Use copyright laws while you’re at it.

Someone in the AHDI office is probably still scratching their head, trying to figure out how they came under fire for something TRSi is doing, something AHDI has no oversight over. Allow me to try and give some insight to that: Jay copied and pasted part of a press release to the AHDI Lounge blog with absolutely NO original content; nothing to indicate how he feels about medical scribes, TRSi, Scribe America, the entire process, or any indication that he has any thought about it at all. He didn’t write a blog post about the concept of medical scribes, or how scribing relates to medical transcription, or what he thinks about the transition possibilities for MTs. In short, he didn’t communicate. Therefore, this ends up looking like some kind of official announcement by AHDI about a corporate member of AHDI that has an approved school. Is it any wonder readers took it as some kind of endorsement by AHDI?

As I’ve so often seen at the AHDI Lounge, the focus of the conversation deteriorates via the comments section, as AHDI members and staff become defensive about AHDI rather than attempting to keep the conversation on track. My guess about the lack of any original thought by Jay in these posts is that they are an intentional conversation starter and he doesn’t want to inject his (or AHDI’s) opinion. The problem with that strategy is that it leads to the kind of comments we see here, because there is no point of focus. The typical purpose of a blog is for the blogger to HAVE and EXPRESS an opinion, not just regurgitate news feeds (otherwise, it’s a news feed, right?).

But what really frosted my keyboard in this conversation was this comment from Lea Sims.

Anyone who can’t engage here within those parameters is welcome to take the desire for blood-letting to any of the many other forums where that kind of dialogue is not only tolerated by encouraged.

Here’s a fact for Lea: when you say something like this, you’re engaging in the same kind of blood-letting. Oh, you can tell yourself you’re not, and you can try and dress it up and make it look nicer, but it’s still a pig in lipstick and most of us recognize that. And the sad thing is, you could have easily made your point without the backhanded slap or even bringing up anyplace you’d like to send the rabble to (virtually, of course). It’s the responsibility of official staff members and elected officials of any organization or company to take the high road in any conversation, not the high horse.

I can hear the but… but… but… all the way across the internet. But Julie you do this all the time. Yes, I do! But I don’t represent anybody or anything, officially or unofficially. I’m not a member of anything and I don’t hold any elected office. I’ll be the first one to say I’m just an opinionated loudmouth with a couple of websites and a lot of bandwidth. I get to say whatever I damn well please in that capacity.

However, the person signing comments as “Director of Professional Services, AHDI,” is most certainly posting in that capacity, not as an individual. And the Director of Professional Services needs to be… well, professional… online and off, in any venue where you either present yourself in your official capacity, or can be seen as functioning in your official capacity.  When you represent an organization that is pounding out the platform of professionalism and higher standards, then by golly – your staff members and leadership should be the shining example of professionalism and higher standards in all communications, regardless of personal opinions or biases. You don’t get to tell people to go to hell, even if you envision hell as a forum where “blood-letting” is encouraged.

What I’m see in this communication style is a lack of respect for medical transcriptionists and a decidedly unprofessional approach to communication. Medical transcriptionists participate in those forums that Lea so willingly denigrates, medical transcriptionists own or run those forums, and medical transcription schools, vendors and companies advertise on them. The hallmark of online communication is would you say that in a face-to-face conversation? Unfortunately, for AHDI I think the answer is yes. And that should tell medical transcriptionists everything they need to know about the organization presenting itself as the professional representative of the industry.

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