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Medical Scribes Still Continue to Grow Beyond Just Emergency Medicine…

Posted Sep 30 2010 11:11pm

Why is this happening, time is one element and complicated medical records systems are another.  Almost every doctor who has converted will tell you that in beginning there is a loss of productivity and this is due in part to the learning curve anyone has with software.  That part is not unique to doctors.

I had one doctor tell me that to get through his residency at different facilities he has to learn 5 different systems!  That deserves an award in itself.  We do have some pretty complex systems out there today and they didn’t all start out that way but with adding terminology and a few other libraries and let’s not forget coding, it’s got complicated and is far from a simple program just to contain simple SOAP notes, so evolution has contributed here too and then you have updates too. 

The battle is over on whether or not we need electronic records, we do but what format and which program and so on is still a big game.  I guess until we see some relief in getting some standards on screens and just where the doctor inputs data it appears the scribes will survive.  Doctors do have to remember though to check the notes they take though.  Also let’s not forget the other software that is used for admitting and providing business intelligence cost analysis parameters they need to work with too, and let’s not forget taking care of the patient and maybe talking to one too.  BD   image

Jacob Casey decided he wanted to be a physician while in the Peace Corps in Jordan, working on children with cleft palates alongside Operation Smile surgeons. But with a bachelor of arts degree, he lacked the educational courses or clinical experience to get into medical school when he returned home.
An academic adviser steered him to a program at Legacy Health's five hospitals in Oregon and Washington in which college students and recent graduates interested in becoming physicians can train to be scribes. They work with emergency physicians and enter patient notes and diagnoses into the electronic medical record, freeing doctors to spend that time with patients. And scribes gain invaluable medical experience.

The demand for scribes has expanded as hospitals and the federal government push electronic record-keeping. To encourage it, last year Congress provided up to $27 billion over 10 years, and those who don't go electronic will receive lower payments from Medicare.
But it's estimated that at least initially, doctors lose about 30 percent productivity because of the greater time to fill out electronic records compared with paper ones. Dr. Robert Vissers sees that drop up close.

Companies that develop and sell electronic medical record systems are in denial about the physician productivity loss, says Dr. David Strumpf, head of Emergency Medicine Scribe Systems in California, which runs 30 scribe programs. He's seen demand rising for scribes across the country to fill that gap. Scribes record what goes on with patients. Later, doctors check for accuracy, make any additions or corrections and sign off.

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