Doctor uses virtual scribe technology before patient visit.

4 Reasons to Implement a Virtual Scribe

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It’s no secret that electronic health records (EHRs) have a common and unfortunate downside: physician burnout. Studies show that physicians spend up to four hours per day on EHR-related activities. In fact, in a study of physician burnout, 75 percent of physicians who reported experiencing burnout identified the EHR as the primary contributing factor.

However, remote medical scribes may ease administrative tasks and address widespread physician burnout.

How Will This Impact Physicians?

Scribes can reduce physician burnout by taking on administrative tasks for physicians, improving job satisfaction by removing distractions, and enhancing productivity.

Remote scribes can enter the details from a visit from outside your office without disturbing the privacy of the patient visit. For some services, all you have to do is record the visit with your patient, send it to the scribe, and your note will be ready for review within 24 hours.

The Top Benefits for Physicians

  • Consistency. With companies that offer medical scribe services, you do not have to worry about hiring and training a replacement scribe if your scribe leaves. The company or partner that works with the practice can handle resourcing talent for the practice without physicians having to do any extra work.
  • Cost savings. Virtual scribes only need to be in the office when there is a patient in the room, which can help private practices cut down on administrative expenses. This is especially beneficial for rural practices that do not have the infrastructure to support in-person, full-time medical scribes.
  • Better patient relationships. There are fewer distractions when the scribe is not in the room. Patients may feel more comfortable talking to you about their concerns. Likewise, you can focus on your patients without needing to dictate anything to the scribe.
  • No additional training. Virtual scribes are well-acquainted with a variety of different EHRs and specialize in clinical documentation. While you may need to teach them your personal documentation preferences, you can feel comfortable knowing they are working with a well-trained scribe.

How to Get Started

The easiest way to get started is to talk to other physicians in a similar specialty who have scribes. Ask about their benefits and drawbacks to understand how a scribe may affect your current workflow. Some physicians you know may have freed up enough time to focus on improving their productivity or focusing on higher-level administrative tasks, like value-based care and population health strategies.

Assess your criteria for a scribe before hiring one. How will a scribe affect your day, both at the office and at home? What are your goals for adopting a documentation solution?

You should also consider the parameters that will allow a scribe service to fit in with your workflow. When do you want to review the notes? How many customizations will you require? How much time do you have to onboard a new scribe?

Scribes can be a powerful tool to help reduce burnout, capture the full story and plan in the EHR for every patient, and elevate the entire practice workflow and patient experience. This way, you can focus on your patients’ health, as well as your own.

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