Nothing stays static in this world, especially the advancement of medicine. But while there are obvious ways that the medical practice moves forwards such as a new cures and surgical techniques, there are many important ways that the discipline is changing in the background. Technology has come to the management and operational side of medicine as well, and the professional medical scribes and creation of electronic health records are good examples of how the framework surrounding treatment is also evolving.
But while scribes have done a lot to make it easier for doctors and nurse practitioners to do their job, that doesn’t mean that scribes and the way they work are the final answer. Like anything else, the ways scribes operate can always improve or integrate new developments to be even more efficient and effective. Tablets and other portable computing devices have already changed the way people do business, allowing people to send or access online data directly wherever they go, and that’s certainly going to play a role in the ways scribes interact with medical information in the future. Hand writing and speech recognition software are both making great strides with every year, so we may see a day when just speaking or writing something down on a tablet or other device will be enough for the device to recognize and formally enter the data into an EHR or other diagnostic system, doing away with the two-step process we have now of taking notes down on paper that must later be transcribed back into digital form for data entry. A scribe that works faster and more efficiently is—just like a doctor—capable of doing more once that time has been freed up.
And then there are the exciting technologies that are on the horizon such as augmented reality with Google Glass or Microsoft’s HoloLens headset. In both cases, these devices take computing power and put them on glasses, so people wearing these devices can see and interact with information that is placed directly over their vision. Imagine a medical consultation where a doctor can look at an injury or visible symptom, and have that image directly captured and sent to the nearby scribe’s device for automatic data entry. Or the ability for a scribe to send EHR records directly to a doctor’s device so it’s visible for reference as a window on the side while consulting a patient.
These and many other possible innovations are coming to not just to medical treatment, but to medical consultations, and both the medical practitioners and the scribes working with them will benefit, as will, ultimately the patient.