How Does a Medical Scribe Help a Physician?
What is a Medical Scribe?
A medical scribe is an assistant to a physician or other healthcare provider responsible for entering electronic notes into computerized patient records. This includes patient history, test results, physician examination findings, finding medical charts/labs/images, pending orders, updating immunizations/health maintenance, assisting in the traditional SOAP note, and documenting other pertinent information into patient healthcare records. A scribe’s main role is to enter medical documentation into the electronic health records (EHR), often during a patient examination, offloading this role from physicians and healthcare providers. Scribes may also check for test results, help with billing, and assist with assigning diagnoses/updating problem lists and medications for healthcare providers. The physician carefully reviews the medical scribe’s notes each day, correcting any misinformation and supplying additional information as necessary, and signing the notes once he or she is satisfied with their accuracy and completeness. Although scribes do not generally have healthcare provider training or certification, they are nonetheless held to the same standards as other healthcare specialists and expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, including maintaining patient confidentiality, and comply with HIPAA regulations.
1. Improves Physician Lifestyle and Job Satisfaction
With the transition from paper charts to electronic medical records and documentation, doctors and other healthcare professionals are spending an increasing amount of time on the computer. With the advent of the medical scribe, physicians can spend less time documenting each patient visit, allowing them more flexibility in their schedules and relieving them of a necessary but time-consuming administrative task. This leads to an improved lifestyle and increased job satisfaction for the physician or healthcare provider while maintaining a high degree of care.
2. Increases Patient Satisfaction and Quality of Care
The assistance of medical scribes can also free the physician up to spend more time with each patient. While the scribe documents the patient’s visit and enters information into the EHR, the physician can spend more time directly talking with patients and gain greater insight into each individual situation. This helps build the relationship between patient and physician and leads to greater patient satisfaction and quality of care.
3. Improves Workflow and Promotes Teamwork
The assistance of a medical scribe improves workflow, promotes teamwork, and brings cohesiveness to the dynamic of the healthcare practice increasing throughput for patients. Medical professionals are relieved of a burdensome but vital task in documenting the details of each patient visit/sending referrals, etc., allowing them to focus on other aspects of their duties, such as taking care of a patient’s needs.
4. Provides High Return on Investment
Medical scribes represent a high return on investment by allowing the healthcare provider to see more patients per day as well as increase the face-to-face time with the patients who need it most. Further, due to the medical scribe’s discrete data entry and more thorough documentation and accurate notes, healthcare providers have seen an increase in billables on each individual note. This increased revenue offsets the cost of the medical scribe’s salary, resulting in a very beneficial financial picture in which the scribes virtually pay for themselves.