The American Board of Family Practice was officially recognized in 1969, but the “specialty” has been around as long as medical doctors have existed. And as long as the specialty has existed, its practice has evolved. As medical knowledge has grown, so too has the pressure on Family Practice doctors to keep up. The families and patients they work with vary based on their geography, age, and the specific needs of the community. Because of this, family doctors enjoy a rich and varied work life, but they also must possess a far reaching knowledge of medicine due to the broad spectrum of their specialty.
Add to this the fact that most family doctors see their patients more often than other specialists, and learn more about their patients lives. Wonderful as this is, it also means patient visits can run longer as the doctor is being “filled in” on the patient’s life. The family practice physician is under constant time pressure and still has to keep up with electronic medical records and billing. This is one reason implementing a program with a family medicine scribe can be transformative when it comes to reducing the workload of a family practice physician.
Medical Scribes Alleviate Administrative Tasks
Most family medicine practices function in a similar fashion, with a large part of the burden being placed on the physician. Initial data may be gathered by administrative staff, but the physician is tasked with doing the actual physical examination, making decisions, implementing the data from the patient visit, and then implementing the plan of care for the patient.
The key goal for a family medicine scribe program is to alleviate most of the administrative tasks and get the doctor back to practicing medicine.
What a Family Medicine Medical Scribe Does
Few medical specialties can benefit more from the implementation of a medical scribe program than family medicine practices. A scribe program allows the physician to focus on patient care. A medical scribe will do most of the data gathering derived from the doctor’s questions and document. This way, the physician is free to focus completely on engaging with their patient, allowing even more information to be gathered while the scribe documents it.
The scribe’s work doesn’t end there. Not only are they documenting the visit, they enter it into the EHR (electronic health records). Because a family medicine scribe’s responsibility is focused solely on gathering and documenting information, accuracy is much higher. When information is more accurate, billing issues are less likely to arise, and the family medicine practice can enjoy being paid in a more timely manner. Perhaps the greatest benefit family medicine scribes provide is increasing a physician’s productivity, allowing them to see more patients and therefore increase billing.
How to Get Started
Once you’ve decided your family medicine practice could use the assistance of a scribe to increase productivity and relieve your physician’s administrative burden, it’s time to do some research. Although there is no broadly accepted training program, you’ll want to be sure the company you partner with thoroughly vets and trains their scribes. Look for companies who hire from Tier 1 universities (as we do) and provide family medicine scribes with a deep interest in the field of healthcare. Learn more here on choosing the Best Medical Scribe Company.
Because every practice is different you’ll want to make sure your scribe partner is able to accommodate the needs of your specific practice.
- Do they match medical scribes to your physician's personality and skill set requirements?
- Do they have a trial period and onboarding process that allows you to work with them to fine tune the program?
- Are they able to provide a substitute if your scribe needs unexpected time off?
The rise in the use of medical scribes doesn’t appear to be slowing, and companies continue to pop up providing scribe services. Making sure you do your due diligence and research to find the right fit for your practice will pay off as you build your medical scribe program.