Are You Using A Medical Scribe?

Many healthcare providers are using medical scribes to increase their productivity.  Since the Affordable Care Act has increased the use of electronic health records, healthcare providers are finding it difficult to keep up with all their computer work. Medical scribes are increasingly the answer.

A recent study of healthcare providers found that although 70% of physicians are using electronic health records. Many of these providers are finding that their clerical duties have drastically increased.  With more and more patients to see, medical scribes have been a welcome answer.

The medical scribe follows the physician as they see patients and enter the required data into the computer.  This allows the physician to focus on the patient instead of staring at a computer screen during the patient visit.

Although the medical scribe adds an additional cost to the practice, many doctors find that they are able to see more patients as much of their documentation is performed at the same time they are discussing care with their patient.  Additionally, the medical scribe often alleviates the need for several hours of computer input at the end of the work day.  Additionally, the medical scribe will likely capture more information at the patient visit as the information is being inputed while the doctor is discussing care with the patient.  The doctor does not need to rely on memory skills and isn’t rushing to finish documentation to get to the next patient.

Confidentiality remains a concern as the scribe adds another person involved in patient care.  A medical scribe is not different from a dictation service that also has access to patient information.  If an outside service is being used to supply the medical scribe, a business associate agreement must be signed prior to the use of the medical scribe.  Due to the changes to the HIPAA/HITECH Act in September 2013, the medical scribe will be liable for any breaches in confidentiality if a proper business associate agreement is executed.

As practices evolve to meet the changing needs to healthcare in 2014, medical scribes may be a useful tool to consider.  All healthcare providers need to be creative and flexible in solving the various issues that will arise in delivering care.

Tell us whether your practice is using a medical scribe?   Share  your comments with us by clicking on the comment button below. We’d love to hear from you.

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