When it comes to looking at the costs of any clinic or hospital, a cursory evaluation might look at a Medical Scribe as a luxury for an often meager operating budget. After all, the first and most important things should be ensuring that doctors are not just paid, but properly equipped, and that nurses are there to assist them while administrative staff handles the data. It doesn’t actually look like a trained Medical Scribe can make that big a difference when trying to justify the added time and expense of bringing another staff member aboard.
But saying that a Medical Scribe is unnecessary is much like writing off the exhaust pipe in an automobile; that pipe might not be part of the engine that moves the vehicle, but without it, fumes can endanger the passengers, noise becomes louder and more unpleasant and, most critically, fuel and engine efficiency drop off significantly. A medical scribe is a staff member makes it possible for everyone else to do their jobs better, ESPECIALLY the doctor.
What may seem like a questionable addition to payroll begins to prove itself out in a number of ways. Doctors make fewer errors, medical data is filed in more timely, thorough fashion, and perhaps most noticeable of all, doctors can see more patients in the day while at the same time experiencing less stress. This has significant, long term benefits for any clinic or hospital as it reduces the chances the burn out to medical staff. It reduces the risk of errors from rushing through patient consultations. It keeps electronic health records up to date and more comprehensive both for future use at the clinic and for the patient’s benefit when the EHR is accessed at other facilities.
A Medical Scribe, on the surface, may just seem like someone that is getting paid to take notes for a medical practitioner. But those notes are vital to the safe, efficient, effective treatment of a patient, and can take up to 40% of the time a doctor spends on attending patients. That’s 40% more actual treatment and consultation time, which is what a doctor is paid to do, as opposed to 40% of clerical work, which is not a good use of their expertise.
A professional medical scribe is an outlet to a faster, safer, more productive medical treatment environment. It’s an extra salary that ensures the other paid staff are working to their full potential at what they do best.