June 09, 2017
Why Scribes Are Assets for the Future

Wouldn’t it be nice if you always had the right information, in the right place, whenever you wanted it? When it comes to complex patient cases, this would be a gift to the hard-working physician who needs to balance the task of maximizing efficiency while optimizing quality care. With entire patient histories from A to Z at your disposal, EHRs aim to make things easier for healthcare providers by providing centralized and accurate documentation of details for every patient examined. However, the technicalities of such a system have hampered efficiency, interfered with patient-doctor relationships, and led to an increased data-driven workload on the physician, ultimately leading to physician burnout (or near burnout).

Depending upon the future state of the healthcare system and the laws put into place to retain or repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), these issues could be aggravated even more with a projected U.S. physician shortage. The ACA introduced many more insured people into the healthcare system, boosting coverage, but leaving physicians scrambling to compensate for this increase in the coming years unless measures are taken to remedy the disparity. However, if the ACA is repealed, the predicted loss in health insurance coverage could result in increasing numbers of sick people into the ER that overload ER workflow and also lead to physician burnout. Thus, it is more essential than ever before to come up with ways to alleviate workload while maintaining the high quality of care that the current value-based healthcare models demand. In such cases, certified medical scribes are a crucial support system to buffer the extra load of patient cases that pass through the ER, or to help individual healthcare providers maximize quality and profit.

Here are some examples of how medical scribes help healthcare providers tackle the issues necessary to efficiently deliver quality care using the most current technology.

EHR optimization via medical scribes

The advantages offered by technology can often be achieved or enhanced with the right tools or support. Enter in the medical scribe who can optimize EHR use, so that its original intent of providing accurate, reliable, and relevant patient information is realized. Certified medical scribes are highly-skilled and trained medical staff that provide physicians with the personal support they need to navigate successfully through the EHR system. This frees up physician time, both in and out of the workplace, and maximizes the efficiency of their work by taking away the burden of data entry and technological troubleshooting. Recharging physician focus and incentive is necessary for diligent patient care; documentation by the medical scribe helps to restore this and prevent physician burnout.

Reducing medical errors with scribe support

Using scribes to manage the EHR system not only alleviates the non-medical workload of a physician, it also ensures accurate documentation to prevent medical errors, which have been noted as the third leading cause of death, following heart disease and cancer. Medical scribes can assist in promoting a culture of safety within the healthcare environment through their close attention to detail and accurate recording of patient examinations. Because physicians are relieved of their EHR duties, this allows them to pay more attention to their patients’ issues and restore the physician-patient relationship.

Medical scribes can also facilitate team-based coordination between healthcare providers, either by actively assisting physicians in communicating with each other, or by providing clear documentation of all medical decisions and actions for a particular patient. In this way, the entire history of a patient’s care is on display so that errors can be easily identified and fixed, and patient care can remain continuous between medical providers and healthcare settings.