Creating ShadowScribe Structured Dictation Templates (2014)

This article will explain how to create ShadowScribe dictation templates.

ShadowScribe dictation templates, also known as normals, are built via the dictation template editor interface.  These are used in the same way traditional dictation templates are used. That is, when clinicians dictate to insert their template such as “please insert my normal physical exam template”.


To build a template go to InCommand > Client Maintenance > Templates > Dictation Templates, select Add new ShadowScribe Template and an editor will load. The editor has some basic formatting capabilities such as bold, underline, italics, and also has basic table functionality.  Once a template is created, it will appear in green under the dictation templates list to the right. Any template names in green denote a ShadowScribe template.

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There are two types of templates that can be added, templates consisting of section titles or templates with no section titles.  Templates are usually created with canned text but they don’t always have to be. This article will assume the user is adding canned text.


This template is used when you need to insert a template that has a few sentences of text or maybe a few paragraphs and the text is not tied to a specific title.

To create this template, leave the Section Name drop down as “<no section>”, then type the text into the editor box. If you are copying text from another document, be sure to copy it into notepad first then copy from notepad before pasting it into the editor.

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In the dictation code text box name your template. In the Location drop down, leave the location as “All Locations” to have the template available to all, or pick a specific location to have the template available for this user and this specific location.  In the document drop down select the specific document type you want the template to apply to or leave it as “All Documents” meaning the template will apply to all documents for the particular user.

If you have any specific instructions for the MT to follow when using this template, you can add those to the notes section.

If you want to make this template available to all users for this client check the “Template for All users”.

NOTE: you cannot add additional sections with <no section name>.  This section is only allowed once per template.


This template is the most common and is used when sections have corresponding canned text.


Click the “Add New ShadowScribe Template”, click on the Section Name drop down to select the section title.

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For example, select the Past Medical History and then add any canned text you want to appear in the template for that section.  The list of titles comes from the library of terms that were added under the Advanced Maintenance > ShadowScribe Workflow > Setup MTSO Sections. This is the same list you use when setting up ShadowScribe Document Templates. If the section title you’re looking for is not listed, click on the “edit sections” link to go back to the Setup MTSO Sections screen where you can add new sections to your library.

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To add a new section, click either of the “add new section” links.  This creates a new section below the prior where you can select another Section Name and add additional canned text.  Repeat these steps to continue adding sections.

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Be sure you have a main section in the template then click the add subsection link at the top or bottom of the window.  Select the section title from the Subsection Name list and then add any canned text to the editor.  The subsection will appear indented below the main section.  To add additional subsections repeat these steps. Each time a subsection is added it will appear indented.

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To move a section or subsection use the move up and down buttons on the right of the screen.

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To remove a section or subsection click on the delete link. This removes the entire section and section editor from the screen.


Select the template you want to edit and Click “Edit Template”.  Make any changes to the sections and/or subsections and click save.


This is handy when you want to use an existing template but make changes to it to fit the requirements of another user.  To Copy, select the template to copy, click the “Copy Template” select the target users and click save. Use the CTRL Key to select multiple users.

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To delete an entire ShadowScribe Template, click the “Delete Template” link.


Dictation templates are used to increase productivity for both the clinician and the MT/MLS.  With ShadowScribe this is also true.  When a clinician speaks to “insert my X template”, and then dictates corrections, the MT/MLS is responsible for pulling in the template, making the dictated corrections, and then removing the actual voice recognized corrections.  While there may be some productivity loss during this process, that loss is offset by the rest of the voice recognized draft. However, when a template consists of more than 70% of the draft and is used frequently, the productivity loss will be much greater as there is less voice recognized text to offset the process of inserting and making corrections to the template. In this situation the benefits of using that template to increase dictator productivity should be weighed against the loss in MT/MLS productivity.  Another factor to consider is the speech engine will be getting only a small amount of text that is actually spoken which may impact draft quality over time. If you have a dictator like this, they might be a better candidate for Qualified Text instead of voice recognition.


When a template is inserted and edited on a consistent basis, ShadowScribe may, overtime, learn to insert part or all of the template.  If this occurs the template should be reviewed for accuracy as it may not be correct. Note: if this happens the template will NOT appear as a structured template.  It will appear as plain text and will need to be edited into the structured form.


All section and subsection titles will be counted as Qualified Text (QT), if QT is enabled for the client.  Any canned text will appear in yellow to the MT/MLS when inserted into the body of the report.  Any section titles will not appear in yellow but will still count as QT.