Are We Losing Doctors To The Great White North?

In 2015, Dr. Emily Queenan of Rochester, New York finally gave up.

She talked to her husband, discussed the situation with her family, and, after five years in her own clinic as a solo practice for family medicine, she decided it was time to say goodbye to her country. She was going to take the advice of a medical recruiter from Canada, and move north of the border to resume her career somewhere in the province of Ontario.

She’s not alone. Other American doctors have taken similar steps in recent years, and the reasons they do it are the same. They feel their ability to actually practice as doctors as being severely impacted by outside requirements from insurance companies to act as accountants and even repossession officers in order to maintain operations. The Canadian healthcare system, operating under government oversight, radically simplifies the documentation and payment system for both patients and doctors alike.

Canada’s medical care system isn’t perfect, and has its own share of challenges to overcome, but one area where American doctors envy their Canadian counterparts is in respect for their role as medical caregivers, not clerical office workers. Where a Canadian doctor has billing and payment handled by the provincial healthcare systems, American doctors must wrestle with a large amount of paperwork and, in some cases, must even pursue payment with their patients, since some insurance companies will not pay a doctor until they receive their premium payment from the patient.

In many ways, an experienced professional medical scribe can take much off this pressure off and allow doctors and nurse practitioners to do what they are supposed to. America is still in the middle of a big transition as healthcare undergoes significant change. It’s created many new challenges for doctors, including a higher number of patients to deal with, as well as increased documentation that needs to be correctly submitted in order for insurance companies to make their payments. All of this increases the time and complexity demanded of medical staff to ensure people get paid, but it also drastically takes time away from the whole point of the enterprise, actual medical consultation and treatment.

It’s no wonder then, that some, like Dr. Queenan, especially if they are operating smaller practices, may simply feel too overwhelmed by having to do everything themselves and throw up their arms in surrender. They see no options and feel no one is helping them.

Of course, that doesn’t have to be the case. ProScribe professional medical scribes, are one easy answer to spending less time treating and more time filling out forms. Between the actual consultation, updating an Electronic Health Record, and making sure that the EHR and other forms are correctly filled and compliant with hospital, insurance and legal requirements, it’s understandable why such intricate paperwork could be so demanding on time.

A ProScribe however, is trained specifically to handle this. The familiarity with EHR formats, and the ability to take on these administrative tasks can move a surprising amount of the paperwork burden off doctors and nurse practitioners, allowing them to get back to the focus of helping the people, rather than worrying about whether that form was correctly filled out so that can payment can take place.

Some, like Dr. Queenan, obviously feel alone and not up to the task of playing doctor, secretary and accountant all at the same time. But they don’t have to. A trained medical scribe understands how important this paperwork is, and can shoulder the responsibility of ensuring it is correctly filled, so that medical staff don’t have to feel like the reason they got into their profession is being eroded by bureaucratic requirements.