Where is the time efficiency that ACA touted with electronic health records?

No one needs to tell you that more time is spent trying to plug in the information that you want to enter into the appropriate places of the EHR (or retrieve the important ones)…especially when you are getting acclimated to a new EHR system. Maybe you’re reminiscing with rue how it used to be where you could just scribble your notes down and be done with it!

In the meantime, you are devoting your attention to charting at the expense of your patient who feels totally ignored in the exam room as the eye contact and relationship plummets.

Solution Out of EHR “Time-Sucking” to your schedule

Have you been shouting “Enough”  or there has to be a better way?  Well, actually there is.

Medical scribes enter notes,  and post data like test results or new medical history/medications into the program so that you, the doctor can pay complete attention to the patient. The best part is that you are engaged with the patient, strengthen patient-doctor bonding AND your chart is complete and needing only a review. A few adjustments and Voila! The chart is done!

Check out this Case Study

According to Asfer Shariff, MD,  Founder and Chief Medical Officer of  Physicians Angels,* a scribe service, he can  review 15-20 scribe-produced charts in as many minutes in his practice. Without a scribe, he was spending up to 2 hours at the end of each day updating charts in the EHR. “I got my family back,” he says.

“Physicians who work with scribes see, on average, one additional patient an hour, experts maintain. Despite this greater productivity, at the end of the day, all the charts are done. This is true even for high-volume specialists who may generate 50-75 charts per day.”

“A doctor’s cost runs up to $4 a minute or $240 an hour,” Shariff observes. “Would you pay $240 an hour to have someone type and click information into an electronic medical record? Would you take your most expensive employees and make them data entry staff? That’s what has been happening.”

“An EHR is no different from a CT scanner or EKG machine,” he offers by way of perspective. “An EHR is a data-acquisition device. You don’t see the radiologist operating the CT or the cardiologist operating the EKG. They have technicians, thus allowing their mental energies to be devoted to the interpretation of data and management of the patient.”

 Medical Scribes

The Joint Commission defines a medical scribe as an unlicensed individual hired to enter information into the EHR or chart at the direction of a physician or licensed independent practitioner.”

“A medical assistant or nurse takes the patient’s weight and vital signs and accompanies the patient to an exam room,” Toth explains. “The scribe accompanies the physician when he or she enters the exam room and records the history, examination, treatment plan, and other clinical data in real time, while the physician interacts with the patient.

“The scribe does additional typing and other documentation while the physician moves on to the next room,” she continues. “At the end of the clinic session, the physician reviews the documentation and makes any corrections to the scribe’s documentation and signs off.”

“Scribing is not merely listening to a doctor dictate a note and typing it into the EHR,” adds Shariff. “It is interpreting the physician-patient interaction and converting it into a concise document with relevant information, then doing appropriate coding to send to the coders/billers, while also creating the letter to the referring physician and doing all the associated tasks.”

*Note-Physicians Angels supports over 25 of the most popular EHRs.

 Have you enlisted the aid of a scribe in your practice?  Is that something that you are considering?
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