A scribe provides thorough and accurate documentation of a patient’s appointment, but do doctors truly appreciate medical scribes? Let’s take a look at my typical workday to see for ourselves…
I start my day by viewing the morning schedule. We have four new patients along with multiple follow-up and acute complaint visits. Given the number of new patients on the schedule, I know it is going to be a busy morning. I follow my provider into the exam room where he asks the patient questions and conducts an exam. Throughout our time with the patient, I’m quickly detailing symptoms, medications, and other pertinent information. I organize conditions and complaints based on the provider's preferences and complete the necessary sections in our EMR system. While I ensure we have documentation, the provider is caring for the patient. When the exam is done, we see the next patient, and the process restarts.
What happens if you remove a scribe from this equation?
Without a scribe, physicians must divide their attention between documenting the patient’s history, listening to the patient, examining the patient, and determining a course of treatment. Physicians would spend more time between patients and at the end of the workday to complete notes. In doing so, there’s the potential for the breadth and accuracy of the medical note to be impacted.
With that being said, a major component of having a scribe is... EFFICIENCY.
Scribes provide a way to enhance efficiency without sacrificing the accuracy and breadth of a medical note. Medical notes are an extremely important component of a patient’s visit as they contain information regarding the status of a patient’s condition, acute complaints, medication compliance, successful treatments for a certain complaint, and much more. The notes I write are often viewed by my provider at the patient’s next visit, or by the physician to whom a patient is referred. In coordinating a patient’s care where multiple physicians are involved, the medical note helps to keep everyone on the same page. Accuracy and efficiency are two crucial components that I bring to the table as a scribe.
Doctors are people too.
Everyone has a life outside of their occupation--even doctors! Late hours at the office spent completing the day’s notes is not preferable when compared to spending time with family or doing a hobby. Every job has the potential for burnout. When job satisfaction and productivity is a problem for a doctor, scribes offer a solution. I remember asking my physician what made him decide to add a scribe to his service; he explained that when he was asked if he wanted a scribe, he told his company “of course!” because he was spending a great deal of time completing notes. He further explained having a scribe allowed him to focus more during the patient’s visit. The appreciation for medical scribes is shared amongst providers; the physician my coworker scribes for once told her: “working with you made me enjoy going to work again.”
So, do doctors appreciate medical scribes? The answer is simple: YES