A few years ago, one of the first big whitepapers on EMR as a hot growth area for staffing came out, titled "The Electronic Paper Trail: Why EMR is Staffing's Hot Growth Area", and this piece identified the EMR growth in healthcare. But, with this "hot growth area" that is EMR staffing for implementation comes another piece to the puzzle, one that our team at Scribe Solutions is very familiar with: the medical scribe. The article says, "healthcare information technology is the new big thing in staffing, thanks to the growing need for healthcare organizations to implement electronic medical record (EMR) systems. While this article is correct in saying that there is/was a growing need for healthcare organizations to implement EMR systems, since this article was written in 2011 some of that has changed and the new need is for data entry. There was an initial wave of EMR systems implementations following the Affordable Care Act becoming effective in 2010.
While some organizations still have a need for EMR systems implementation, there is a new need tied to Health IT, as mentioned above, and that need is for data entry into these EMR systems. Patient records need to be properly documented online, especially with meaningful use requirements in place, and often times this documentation adds extra hours of work to doctors' already busy work schedules. Here is where scribes come in: scribes take away this burden, and as the meaningful use deadline approaches, hiring scribes is more important than ever for these busy physicians.
More literature has come out on the need for scribes, and the benefits of hiring scribes are becoming more evident. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons boldly highlights these benefits in its published paper on the benefits of using scribes. On the top of the AAOS paper it is clearly stated in the header:Physicians can spend more time with patients; charting accuracy is increased.
The AAOS paper's author, a physician himself, makes a strong case for hiring scribes, and who better to hear this news from than a practitioner himself. G. Klaud Miller, MD, the author of the paper, is a member of the AAOS Practice Management Committee who is in private practice in Chicago. Miller highlights the reasons why scribes are key to success in the age of required documentation using EMR, advocating:"...using a scribe saves time. The physician never has to do after-hours dictation in the office or bring charts home to dictate. The chart is completed when the physician leaves the examination room. A physician who sees 20 patients a day and spends 5 minutes per chart dictating or writing the notes saves more than an hour and a half of time by using a scribe. Independent of any of the other benefits, how much would you pay to get an extra hour and a half or more per day?"
He says it best when it comes to summing up just how helpful hiring scribes is and how using scribes is the way of the future, stating, "Although using a scribe may sound like a luxury to some, I have found that scribes more than pay for themselves in numerous ways, and I would never practice without one."