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Scribes + EHR = Happy Patients, Happy Doctors, Happy Practices, Happy Employees, Happy Families, and Happy Top Line Practice Growth

Author: ; Published: Jun 2, 2014; Category: Industry Article, Switching EHR; Tags: , , , , , , , ; No Comments

There is an emerging discussion in the EHR category regarding the use of scribes combined with an EHR. There are numerous questions, however, our scan of recent articles points to more pros than cons making the early adopters pointing to scribes as a viable solution.

A recent discussion posted by Frank Combs, Administrator at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the Medical Group Management Association Linkedin group asked, ”if you are using a scribe…do physicians see more patients on a daily basis?”

In this group there was a consensus that implementing an EHR, any EHR, results in even a temporary decline in productivity. But the comments about adding scribes to the equation were interesting and it made a great case in favor of scribes.

Pro Scribes Comments:

Doctor and Scribe

Doctor and Scribe

  • It protects the organization from the issues related to missing notes and helps reduce disciplinary actions for physicians who struggle to complete the task of documentation in the EHR
  • Allows a practice to return to its pre-EMR production levels
  • Scribes deliver better documentation which can improve reimbursement, increased patient satisfaction, a better practice work environment that can foster enhanced provider retention and recruiting
  • Using financial modeling, scribes can pay for themselves and most combinations of a scribe and an EHR can generate an ROI
  • A narrative exam between the patient and doctor while a scribe simultaneously documents into the EMR in real time

Cons Scribes Comments:

  • Practices are unsure where they can recruit qualified scribes?

(However, there are Scribe services companies popping up all over the States. ProScribe provides scribes nationally making finding, training, and retaining scribes less of an issue)

  • A knowledgeable scribe (i.e med student) may take too much liberty using their own interpretation/assessment rather than only recording visit information

Earlier in May, Becker’s Hospital CIO posted a blog citing a study in ClinicoEconomics and Outcomes Research that reported the following financial ROI:

“The use of scribes was found to be associated with an increase of both direct and indirect revenue gains of between $142 and $2,398 per patient, with a total of $205,740 additional revenue brought in from the additional 81 patients seen by the four physicians using the scribes.”

Imagine the efficiencies gained from combining a future-proofed EHR with a best-practice scribe program. You’d have the best of machine and human interoperability. 

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