Here’s a scenario to think about. The medical office front desk receptionist calls your name. You walk into your exam room to find it empty. You wait in silence for the physician to come in – and after 10 minutes, he does but he seems to be in a rush. He rarely looks at your face because he’s typing notes as you describe your symptoms. In fact, he seems more intent on completing documentation than listening to you. He thanks you for coming in and leaves – and you’re alone again, wondering if he heard enough to diagnose you correctly or if he even took your complaint seriously.
Not a great visit to the doctor, is it? But add another person into the room and see how much the outcome changes. This time the doctor isn’t typing or checking information; he’s looking at you and listening to every word you say. The other staff member – a medical scribe – is handling documentation and charting. The physician is focused on you, answering your questions and asking his own about your symptoms. When the exam ends, you feel reassured that you’re getting top-notch care – and that you’ve started a positive new relationship with a provider who understands you.
The scribe made all the difference.
How Medical Scribes Can Reconnect Providers to Purpose
Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems have changed healthcare, contributing both benefits and challenges to physicians’ work practices. Providers often complain they feel slowed down and burdened by the weight of documentation and clerical responsibilities that encroach on patient care. Some older systems are slower than others – like Resource Patient and Management System (RPMS), which typically involves long wait times and means physicians spend more time managing the system than they do caring for patients. This is a major cause of physician burnout and it can also alienate patients, who may decide not to return for follow-up care.
Medical scribes solve both issues. To free the physician to focus on the patient, scribes can chart patient visits, manage documentation in the EHR, and complete forms. They might organize information before the patient’s visit or collaborate with the physicians during the exam. Scribes can assist in the emergency department, a telemedicine visit, or urgent care, primary, and specialty care – but wherever they are, they let the physician build a better connection with patients to ensure the patients get the best care possible.
In short, they reconnect healthcare professionals to the reason they went into the profession: helping others.
You can see why the demand for scribes has never been higher – and you have a good idea of why we keep hiring them. But the benefits go beyond the exam room. We hire many of our medical scribes from within the tribal communities we serve. Multiple factors feed healthcare disparities, including the economy, social determinants, and healthcare literacy. Hiring scribes from the local community helps address them all – and increases the number of Native Americans working in healthcare.
Start Your Medical Scribe Career
Do you know someone who would make a great medical scribe? Are you interested in finding out how you can become a scribe yourself? Reach out to Brian Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll tell you all about it.