How Does a Medical Scribe Improve Patient Care?

Physician burnout is a widespread phenomenon. With crushing workloads and demanding schedules, healthcare providers are pulled in many different directions. However, there is one aspect of the job that is more important than all of the others: doctor-patient interactions.

When a physician can place his or her sole focus on the patient, health outcomes and patient satisfaction improve. Medical scribes fulfill the role by acting as the intermediary who documents all physician-patient interactions. By allowing a medical scribe to take care of the details, a physician has more time and attention to care for patients.

What are medical scribes?

Medical scribes assist physicians and healthcare providers during patient visits by taking detailed notes and charting physician-patient interactions. With a medical scribe’s support, healthcare providers can stay focused on the patient and run a more efficient practice. They offer a great second pair of eyes as well, catching any charting inconsistencies and ensuring the accuracy of all Electronic Health Documentation (EHR). Scribes fulfill a growing need, as many physicians are frustrated with the current state of EHRs, that are hard to use and disrupt patient visits and their satisfaction. Overall, it can be a hindrance for a smooth process of clinical documentation.

The purpose of a medical scribe is to iron out those operational disruptions by taking on the documentation responsibility of patient information.

Why would a healthcare practice want a medical scribe?

Medical healthcare professionals are all too familiar with long shifts of extensive multitasking. The rising rate of physician burnout points to the effects of such a demanding schedule. A study conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA) focused on primary care physician burnout. The researchers suggested, among other conclusions, that medical scribes decrease burnout and enhance the patient-physician relationship. Primarily, medical scribes relieve the growing burden of EHR documentation.

Medical scribes provide efficiency in the day of a medical professional. They no longer have to experience appointment delays, clearing up more time in the physician’s schedule to fit in more patients and increase their satisfaction. Doctors can also choose to shorten their workday, allowing for a manageable work-life balance.

How does a medical scribe improve patient care and their experience?

The value of medical scribe services extends to the physician’s patient. In a 2018 study, researchers interviewed 735 patients. 57 percent of participants indicated that during visits with a medical scribe present, the doctor spent less time on the computer. Nearly half of the participants stated that their doctor spoke to them more than usual during these same visits.

Because the doctor does not spend any time taking detailed notes during the visit, the patient receives closer attention and better care. Without the need to interrupt dialogue to write everything down, the physician’s workflow remains uninterrupted, which improves his or her thought process. The problem at hand becomes much easier to focus on when the brain isn’t divesting its efforts into two completely different tasks at once.

As the patient returns to your practice for more visits where a medical scribe is present, the enhanced patient-doctor interactions will strengthen the relationship and patient satisfaction, as it is hard to beat a visit with a doctor who really seems to care. In addition to that, a patient’s anxiety is often eased with the friendly presence of a medical scribe.

Where do I find a medical scribe?

There are two kinds of medical scribes that you can consider for your medical practice: virtual medical scribes or in-person medical scribes. Given the current coronavirus pandemic, many medical practices are operating under significant restrictions. That does not mean there isn’t a way, or that you shouldn’t hire a medical scribe. However, you should consider a virtual medical scribe.

Virtual medical scribes are a budget-friendly and convenient option. Even physicians who cannot hire a full-time, on-site medical scribe can do so virtually. Virtual medical scribes provide real-time administrative aid by virtually connecting during appointments to record all information throughout the patient visit. For some patients, this option is preferable as it can be seen as less intrusive. Additionally, people are wary of close or nearby contact with people in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Office building occupancy rules can also get in the way. Virtual medical scribes are often hired as independent contractors. With this worker classification, less paperwork is required, and it keeps the politics of sick days, vacation, and lateness at bay.

Here at Skywriter MD, we provide virtual and remote medical scribe solutions. We assist healthcare providers in any location and provide 24/7 support—at half the cost of an in-person scribe. Our virtual medical scribes ensure documentation quality that comprehensively captures structured and discrete data that supports back-end reporting and analysis. Skywriter MD takes care of all the HR needs of a scribe as well as the retraining due to attrition – the physician never has to train again!

Our virtual medical scribe solutions include post-visit assistance, follow up tasks, and offline documentation to maintain the provider’s workflow. Does your healthcare practice have the need for a medical scribe to improve patient satisfaction and experience? Please contact us today.