Visible black character, revisited

I had the opportunity recently to do a presentation at the TEPR meeting in Palm Springs on verifying your outsourced transcription, met some new people and had a couple interesting debates about the VBC.

After reviewing my initial blog about the visible black character and having these discussions, something occurred to me and of course I’m going to share it.

The VBC is touted as the most accurate, most verifiable method of counting.

Let me point out the two fallacies of that assertion:

  1. It assumes that the verification is done by actually viewing and verifying the characters with the naked eye.
  2. IF that is the way it is verified, it is no more accurate than verification for characters that include spaces.

The argument made by those who support the white paper is that spaces can be manipulated because they cannot be seen. That argument becomes completely invalid if the verification is being done by physically counting the characters as they appear! We can all see a valid space – can’t we? So if we’re verifying by viewing a document, what doesn’t appear isn’t counted.

Let’s take a look at the sample I gave in the presentation:

Let’s look at the points where there might be extra characters inserted and convert those to visible characters:

I don’t know about the rest of the people in the medical transcription industry, but if I’m counting these characters by printing it out and counting what I can see, I’m not going to count all those spaces now displayed as slashes. I am going to count all the spaces that are appropriate – the ones not converted to a slash mark.

I’m going to make two assertions of my own:

  1. Nobody is going to sit and verify a line count by printing out a document and counting the characters they see, especially in a high-volume environment that doesn’t even verify electronically.
  2. There is no method that can’t be manipulated electronically and if the accuracy of the verification depends on #1 above, then the VBC is the most difficult method of counting/verifying. And as noted, no more accurate and verifiable than characters including spaces.

I will be updating with these screen shots and information.

The slide presentation is available at my LinkedIn page.

2008 Advance Salary Survey

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