Within the American medical community, one fact is very well known: primary care physicians aren’t paid as well as specialists. After all, at a time when medical advances are entering into practice on a weekly basis, new specialty drugs are entering the market every month, and the people who know how to diagnose and treat patients using these new techniques can demand a high fee. Unfortunately, this also means that most new physicians are entering theses specialties instead of the primary care professions.
Because of this, the number of new primary care physicians is falling far below the level it needs to be in order to serve a growing and an aging population. That’s why the health care system is trying several strategies to fill this growing gap.
If doctors don’t want to take a potential pay cut to become a GP or a pediatrician, the logical step would be to make it a promotion for a different set of health care professionals. The idea of a nurse practitioner is someone who can care for a patient and also provide referrals, simple diagnoses, and prescriptions. The idea has been around for more than a few years, but the growing difference between the number of primary care professionals we have and the number we need has allowed the population of nurse practitioners explode.
Some things, like a basic physical, have to be done in person at a clinic. However, a doctor equipped with a patient’s current health records can, for some cases, listen to a patient’s complaints and concerns over the phone, loot at a camera feed or a couple photos, and offer medical advice from a remote location. Or at least that’s the idea behind telemedicine, a growing trend that gives patients a cheap alternative to a regular doctor visit or even a stop at the emergency ward.
Scribes started out in the emergency ward, where doctors need to see as many patients as possible as fast as possible. Scribes are not licensed physicians (at least not at the current stage in their careers), but while that means they can’t offer diagnoses, request tests, or write out prescriptions, they can take on all the paperwork associated with today’s medical practice. This means they can take calls and schedule appointments, record patient meetings, file insurance claims, and otherwise tackle the red tape so that doctors and nurses have more free time for medical care.
Here at ProScribe, we’re proud of the way that our employees are helping make the medical field a better place for the physicians who want to spend their time helping people and getting enough sleep each night. We make doctors happy, we make patients happy, and since we also let doctors see more patients every day, our service even manages to pay for itself.