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“By working with Kimberly, my scribe, I’m able to review and close my charts each day before I go home. My family is happy that we can have more time together. My patients also seem to appreciate my undistracted attention. And I feel good because I’m more present with those patients, able to look them in the eye instead of pressing boxes on a computer.”
In December of 2017, a hospital system in Pennsylvania decided to reward ten of its most productive primary care physicians with an outpatient program from ScribeAmerica. But what began as a “thank you” to a small group of providers burdened by documentation duties has since expanded to every outpatient clinic in this organization.
Provider satisfaction had been the goal for the initial program. The hope was that new efficiencies to the day-to-day workflow made possible by EHR support would enable physicians to better focus on patient needs. Providers would also be able to leave work after their shifts instead of remaining in clinic to continue documenting those encounters. That would create more time at home for caregivers to enjoy their own families.
ScribeAmerica delivered on those objectives through redundancy at implementation, placing more than ten scribes so that providers never went unsupported. In addition to general documentation and SOAP note training, outpatient scribes also utilized their in-person orientation at each specific clinic. SA scribes always review the relevant anatomy, pathophysiology, lab protocols, and other procedures per specialty.
“My scribe quickly and naturally adapted to the practice. And the patients were very comfortable with her. Many of them hugged, cried and expressed their concerns directly to me without being distracted by someone professional and unobtrusive assisting with notation.”
But the customized rollout also improved the quality of documentation, which led to increased RVUs and more accurate reimbursement. There was new availability in provider schedules, so on top of existing productivity, these physicians could see more patients. And while wait time had once been a problem, the scribe program helped keep the practices from becoming backlogged. That meant happier patients.
Because the program so clearly exceeded expectations, this healthcare system has begun to expand the outpatient scribe program to more than 200 of its PCPs – virtually the entire family medicine network. Beyond the classroom training, this influx of outpatient scribes will continue to offer customized support by adapting to specific workflows, patient subsets, and individual provider preferences.
“Chart closure is what drives billing. Apart from helping our providers to move through the day more happily and efficiently, ScribeAmerica helped us close most of our encounters same day. That allows for more timely reimbursement.”
In fact, learning the nuances of every PCP’s notation style is a ScribeAmerica core capability. While some providers may like succinct and concise charts with respect to patient histories, others prefer longer and more detailed narratives. As with the first clinician program, outpatient scribes in the expanded version will adjust their documentation based on these and other requests. They will even perform certain ancillary duties to keep the trains running on schedule and allow providers to be as efficient as possible.
“I had been seeing two patients an hour but now average two and a half with my scribe’s help. That’s a big difference in an eight-hour clinic. And I still feel much less stressed by the end of the day – even refreshed and ready to come in early the next morning.”
Patients who are paired with Care Navigators report feeling less anxiety, and an increased ability to self-manage their conditions between visits. And providers report increased job satisfaction from improved efficiency, and knowing their patients have access to care teams, and strategic support.