It’s Official: Medical Scribes Improve Productivity

Some things sound like common sense when you think about them, but don’t actually put them to the test, such as the novice cook thinking that if a chicken takes four hours to roast in an oven at 400 degrees, then maybe by increasing the temperature to 800 degrees, you can cook it in two hours instead. Or putting more hours in a workday actually leads to more work. And then there’s the belief that if anyone is best qualified to fill out an electronic health record, it’s the doctor doing the actual examination.

But many of these common sense notions, when actually put “under a microscope” and examined for statistical validity, don’t actually pan out the way people would expect them to. Simply raising the temperature in an oven results in burnt food. Making people work longer hours results in less productivity, and having a physician or nurse practitioner do all the work of examining a patient, diagnosing, and filling out the necessary documentation is not the best or most efficient way.

When it comes the use of a medical scribe, like our trained, professional staff of ProScribes, the results are in. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine put medical scribes to the test and conducted actual scientific research to see whether or not an assistant to a doctor, dedicated to filling out all the necessary documentation could actually improve conditions for clinics and emergency medical rooms. The results were clear; there was a very definite, measurable uptick in across many different aspects of medical provision.

How Scribes Helped

The Board of Family Medicine compiled studies conducted over nearly 15 years, from 2000 to 2014 in which medical scribes were used in various facilities. They zeroed in on five studies using scribes that were deployed in cardiology and urology clinics, and emergency rooms.

Interestingly, two of the studies looking at whether scribes positively affected the patient experience found that while satisfaction didn’t increase, it didn’t decrease either. The same study looked at clinician satisfaction and found in both cases this had actually increased.

The same compilation looked at three studies that investigated whether or not the number of patients seen had increased with the use of scribes, and two of the three studies indicated that this had happened. However, in two studies conducted for “relative value units per hour,” in other words, how efficiently time was used, both studies found that there was an increase.

The studies go on with more findings, such as a report of increased revenue thanks to being able to see more patients, confirmation of more operational efficiency that resulted in faster results and less overtime, and even one study confirming that patient-clinician interactions improved when the physician or nurse practitioner paid more attention to patients.

The results seem very clear. Over many years, the gradual increase in medical scribe usage in medical settings has resulted in many direct and indirect benefits. These benefits range from tangible increases in revenue to improvements in professional quality of life.

The reliance in the 21st century on more complex and comprehensive documentation was initially seen as a necessary evil, providing more accessible information on patients, at the expense of impacting actual medical performance. With a ProScribe, however, clinics and emergency rooms enjoy all the benefits of electronic health records, with none of the operational downsides.

If you’re interested in getting your own medical facility up to speed with more time, more efficiency and more patient revenue, that contact us about having a ProScribe work at your clinic or ED today.