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Medical Scribes are making a comeback

Posted on Apr 29, 2014

Many physicians and hospitals, if they have not already, are making the switch from paper to electronic medical records. Electronic medical records benefit both the patient and the physician in many ways. For instance, if a patient had to seek medical attention in another state, the records could be sent electronically to the physician treating them. Physicians can send medical records to insurance companies and submit payments through this new system.

With the deadline of having all medical records put in electronically by 2015, physicians are starting to feel the pressure. Before some physicians hired scribes, they would spend an extra 2-3 hours of administrative work a night because most were writing the information down first and then putting it in electronically. 

With scribes, physicians are able to see more patients in a day, increasing the amount of patients that can be seen in a day and bringing more money to the facilities. However, the scribe has to follow the physician from examination to examination taking notes and some patients may not like having another person in the room. So patient privacy has become a concern when it comes to employing scribes. 

Another concern with medical scribes is human error. No system is perfect and while the scribes are supposed to receive the appropriate training - primarily medical terms, diagnosis and medications, there is still a chance of making a mistake. The scribe takes notes in the examination and the physician is supposed to then review and approve them. What happens when the physician is too busy to look over the notes the scribe wrote and they approve it anyway and a patient gets the wrong medication or the wrong treatment?

One of the most common factors of medical malpractice, or preventable medical mistakes is miscommunication, between the physician and the nurses, consultants, pharmacy and for some doctors, using a medical scribe with electronic medical records should help reduce medical miscommunication. 

 

 

For more on this story, head over to www.npr.com.

Image courtesy of NPR.com