One of the great advantages of the digital era that we live in is the accessibility of information and how useful that can be for the decision making process, or other aspects of business and administration. However, while data intensive professions, such as financial accounting are very easy to integrate data processing into, other fields, such as medicine, strike an uneasy co-existence with the need for more comprehensive data, and that can be both useful and limiting at the same time.
Part of the issue with medical facilities versus other fields, such as traditional business is there is a greater sense of moment-to-moment urgency for the tasks a doctor or nurse practitioner is expected to maintain. A business meeting may be critical to a company’s welfare, but a delay is usually not life-threatening. The exact opposite may be true in the most extreme medical situations, and in this context, the first responsibility of trained medical staff should be on diagnosis and treatment, not ensuring that the Electronic Health Record has been filled out with all the appropriate details required for archival or administrative purposes. Lives can literally be lost in the time it takes to ensure proper documentation has been filled out. At the same time, however, that data may be critical to a patient’s future, as important medical information needs to be preserved so that future doctors have a full understanding of a patient’s history, and insurance companies know where and how money is supposed to be used on the patient’s behalf. All of this information is useful and important, but the burden lies solely on the doctor to make sure it is present.
Scribes Make The Difference
One of our ProScribes, which are professionally trained medical scribes, can make a big difference in boosting physician productivity in this regard. In a study conducted in 2015, on a cardiology practice, the deployment and effectiveness of medical scribes was put under rigorous evaluation. The results were significant.
The use of medical scribes actually contributed to a US$1.4 million increase in revenue for the practice. This was a combination of the scribe—being dedicated solely to data entry—producing more thorough, accurate, overall higher quality EHR reports, and doctors being able to see more patients thanks to less time spent per patient on filling out forms.
Conversely, the same study revealed that were cumulative, direct and indirect savings to the practice of approximately $2500 per patient, and this was due to the reduced time doctors spent with new patients, or follow up appointments, without any sacrifice in the actual quality of these consultations. In fact, the ability to not have to juggle both patient treatment and data entry allowed doctors to more effectively manage consultation time, and also resulted in reduced stress for the staff as well.
From an administrative point of view, a ProScribe fills in the role of data specialist with regards to medical data entry, creating higher quality results in a shorter amount of time. At the same time, this frees medical specialists to focus on their primary responsibility with more care and quality.