Are Medical Scribes Worth the Investment?
Medicine is a unique industry in that it is both a time-honored specialty and one that is constantly evolving. As the modern world changes, the medical industry inevitably evolves in kind, prioritizing new services by addressing old pain points.
Every healthcare professional knows that scribes are becoming increasingly popular across virtually every healthcare specialty; this is because providers want to give patients the best possible experience while also streamlining their organizations’ productivity and efficiency—medical scribes enable them to achieve those goals.
What Is the Role of a Medical Scribe?
Also known as documentation assistants, medical scribes turn the information recorded during visits into electronic health records (EHRs). Though doctors may have traditionally recorded their own notes, completed orders themselves, or entered referrals, they no longer have to thanks to the assistance of scribes.
This extra set of hands is important for a number of reasons. Not only are physicians free to take on more work due to the time they are saving thanks to medical scribes, but patients actually enjoy a more personalized healthcare experience, too. Learn more about the service a medical scribe provides.
What Are the Benefits of Medical Scribes?
It’s easy to discuss the merits of scribes in broad terms, but every medical professional prefers data to conjecture; research indicates that utilizing medical scribes within a practice is verifiably beneficial.
Scribes Improve Physician Satisfaction
One 2018 study found that (among many other things), the use of medical scribes within an organization improved doctors’ overall job satisfaction. The cause is simple: less mundane data entry leads to less physician burnout. No one spends years in medical school to dedicate a large portion of their day to data entry; by cutting some of that documentation requirement out of physicians’ schedules, organizations can give them a more rewarding work environment.
While it’s not possible to completely eliminate the burden felt by physicians when it comes to utilizing EHRs, employing medical scribes to help handle some of the details goes a long way toward improving the overall happiness of physicians on a daily basis.
The Scribe Program Pays for Itself
Some organizations are hesitant to invest in medical scribes for fear of the added costs. It’s true that paying for scribes will require an additional investment, but it’s also true that this investment will pay off significantly in the long run.
To explain exactly how a medical scribe program results in increased revenue for a practice, we must dive into some of the specific ways that scribes impact processes within medical organizations. Although investing in a medical scribe program offered through services like Skywriter MD has a cost, that price is offset immediately by the elimination of labor for reprocessing bills, overtime for support staff, and transcription costs; all additional savings beyond that are purely profit.
Healthcare practices who invest in medical scribe programs can expect to save around $2,000 or more every month through reduced medical assistant time and higher quality documentation. This does not even begin to touch the largest source of revenue that organizations can enjoy as a result of medical scribe programs: additional patient visits.
Through the use of programs like Skywriter MD, physicians are able to spend 4 minutes less on each patient (on average) without cutting down on the amount of time actually spent in the room with patients due to an average of at least an hour saved per day on documentation time. This means that, although the quality of care is not negatively impacted, physicians have significantly more time throughout the day.
The result of that extra time is the ability to take on more patients. In fact, studies indicate that mid-level providers are able to take between 7 and 12 additional patient visits per clinic day when they utilize a scribe program; this translates to greatly increased revenue that not only offsets the cost of medical scribes, but actually makes them a lucrative investment for a healthcare practice. Any facility experiencing hesitancy due to the price of medical scribes need only take a few moments to work out their monthly expenditures; it will quickly become clear that a scribe program is a cost-effective option.
Patients Have A Better Experience
When patients visit their doctors, they want to feel acknowledged. Studies indicate that more than 57% of patients visiting organizations who utilize a medical scribe program feel that their physicians spend more time speaking with them; this leads to happier patients.
Physicians have the freedom to focus more concertedly on their patients when they are not attempting to complete data entry tasks while also communicating with the patient. Though the reality is that doctors are still focused on their patients when entering data, they appear distracted and disinterested to patients, resulting in a less personalized and less enjoyable experience.
Invest in Medical Scribes for A More Productive, Happier Organization
To summarize the points that have been proven through a number of research studies on medical scribes: these programs heighten physician satisfaction, boost organization revenue, and improve patient happiness.
Beyond the immediately beneficial nature of these positive points, it’s worth noting that offering providers an improved lifestyle means increased retention rates; this develops a more established and trustworthy healthcare practice. Patients love feeling like they can depend upon their physicians and being able to visit the same doctor for years goes a long way toward creating that sense of trust.
In addition to the boosted revenue through a range of channels referenced above, investing in scribes can also save a practice training costs in the long run. Rather than keeping in-house staff updated on the newest practices, facilities can simply rely on the expertise of a third-party service who makes it a priority to stay up-to-date on cutting-edge technology.
Medical scribes are transforming the medical industry for patients and providers alike, and for good reason—medical scribes eliminate some of the most long-felt pain points in healthcare without charging an immense price tag.
As to the question of whether scribes are worth the investment, there’s simply no logical answer other than a resounding “yes.” When the data is assessed objectively, it’s clear that medical scribes are forging a new path within the medical field that will make it a more positive experience for everyone involved.