Scribe Service for Family Medicine
How Primary Care Physicians Become More Efficient With A Family Medicine Scribe
Looking at a long line of patient waiting lists is not an easy task for primary care physicians in a family medical practice. And it becomes even more difficult when doctors see the continuously increasing time spent on administrative tasks for electronic health records.
From frustrations with health systems to burnout due to long working hours, one of the best solutions for a family practice physician is to have a medical scribe reduce the workload.
What we want to show you in this post is what the true benefits of a family medical scribe are, what the different options are, and how DataMatrix has been helping doctors become more efficient at their jobs.
Benefits Of Hiring Pediatric Medical Scribes
The Stanford University School of Medicine conducted an extensive study into the use of medical scribes, and I have broken down these proven findings into three sections
1. Benefits For A Family Practice Physician
The three most interesting findings from the study revealed that pediatrics scribes provide benefits in some of the most critical areas.
With doctors often spending more than 30% of their working time dealing with the admin task of keeping accurate patient records, it’s no surprise that patient care will suffer.
The less time doctors spend talking to patients and researching different treatment options, the more actual medical care will suffer.
Having a family medicine scribe available for all consultations allows doctors to focus more on patient-physician communication. They can either spend more time on each consultation or deal with more patients each day. In both cases, it improves physician efficiency.
Not surprisingly, the Stanford research revealed that over 70% of doctors agreed that a medical scribe significantly improved their face time with patients.
The next thing the study looked at was the improvement in time spent dealing with electronic medical records. This was another area where physician satisfaction was over 50% in agreement that a family medicine scribe saved them a lot of time.
The reason that it’s not higher is that records created by a scribe still need to be proofread by physicians.
It’s not a completely hands-off way to have medical assistants involved in record keeping. And a lot of that level of satisfaction will come down to the training and quality of the scribes.
Some physicians will also have to resort to taking their own notes when in-house scribes are not available, which can add to some frustration.
The accuracy of electronic health records is vital for legal reasons, but it also impacts many other administrative processes like prior authorization for treatments and medical billing.
In this area, the Stanford study also highlighted that over 65% of physicians agreed that a medical scribe played a critical role in maintaining both the quality and accuracy of patient records.
While doctors still have to proofread and sign off on the patient records, it’s a significantly easier and less time-consuming task than having to transcribe them personally.
2. Benefits For Patients
Stanford researchers found similar results when patients were questioned about their experience with physicians who used a family medicine scribe.
Over 90% of patients questioned strongly agreed that doctors were spending enough time with them. One of the worst things for satisfaction can be when patients feel they’re being rushed during a consultation.
Even if it’s a relatively minor issue being dealt with, keeping a constant eye on the time doesn’t instill confidence.
Additionally, patients respond well to the fact that waiting times for consultations are short, meaning that they can get access to a doctor quickly, even in non-emergency situations.
Another thing that stands out in the research is that patients who went through consultations with a doctor and family medicine scribe strongly agreed that they were encouraged to talk more.
Not only does this help make the patient feel valued and listened to, but it can provide a doctor with much more valuable information to come up with recommended treatments.
The next thing researchers asked patients was whether they felt their doctors were more caring and attentive to their issues. In this case, over 90% strongly agreed.
What these results show is that when doctors are less distracted by record keeping, dictating notes, and the time-consuming task of transcribing them, patients feel like they are getting a better and more personal service.
3. Documentation Efficiency
The final thing the Stanford research looked at was efficiency gains in documenting an electronic health record. To measure this, researchers looked at the time between the start of a patient consultation and the time the doctor officially signs off on the records in the EHR.
Results here also showed improvements, where doctors who had a family medicine medical scribe were more likely to close patient records within 48 hours. This timeframe is important as it is set by Medicare guidelines.
Overall, the study proved that both patient and physician satisfaction drastically improved when human scribes were involved in the record-keeping process. And patient records were more effectively handled and closed out faster.
Now, let’s look at different options for hiring a family medicine scribe.
EMPOWER YOUR PRACTICE WITH STREAMLINED MEDICAL SCRIBING
In-House Vs. Outsourced Scribes
There are two options medical practices have when it comes to hiring a family medicine scribe. Both options come with distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Pros and Cons Of In-House Medical Scribes
In-house medical scribes have been part of administrative support teams in the health industry for many years. The main reason medical practices have chosen this approach is because they have direct control over who they hire.
This can be important for clinics and practices that also offer specialized services other than just the typical family medicine services.
Some doctors also prefer having personal contact with scribes in order to provide feedback and potentially identify areas for more training. It can certainly be a faster way to rectify mistakes in medical notes when the scribe is in-house.
And then there’s the attraction of dealing with the same scribes on a daily basis. That can provide more consistency in the overall workflow.
But there are some considerable negative impacts as well.
First of all, hiring in-house scribes is not an easily scalable option. If you have a sudden rush of patient appointments due to a bad flu season, it’s not easy to quickly source more scribes.
You also need multiple backup scribes to cover for training, vacations, and sick leave. That often means you’re not using that team to its full capacity.
Finally, there are considerable overhead costs involved in direct hiring, payroll taxes, vacations, sick leave, as well as office space and equipment.
Those can all add up to considerable expenses and management overhead that you have to account for fully.
- Direct control over who you hire
- More involvement in the type of training
- Personal contact with scribes to relay corrections
- Consistency from dealing with the same scribes
- Not an easily scalable option for busy times of the year
- Additional costs for hiring, taxes, vacation time, and sick leave
- Requires multiple backup scribes to ensure daily availability
- Overheads for additional office space and computer equipment
Pros and Cons Of Outsourced Medical Scribes
One of the biggest attractions of outsourcing your medical scribing needs is that it can be a highly scalable and adaptable solution. In family medicine, there are different flows of patient visits depending on the time of year and whether there are particularly bad flu seasons.
For smaller medical practices and clinics, that can be a huge challenge for scribes and can ultimately lead to delays.
By using an outsourcing service provider, you can request as much support as you need, because you’ll have access to large teams of expert scribes.
You also don’t have to worry about delays due to a scribe being on vacation or out sick.
From a cost perspective, it’s a lot more effective to outsource your scribing needs. First of all, you only pay for the amount of scribing you actually need. You also don’t have to worry about payroll taxes, Medicare, Social Security, sick leave, or providing dedicated and expensive office space.
The downside some people see is that you don’t have direct in-house communication with the scribes to deal with mistakes. That means getting fixes done and rectifying repeat errors could take longer.
However, when you partner with a medical scribe outsourcing company like DataMatrix, the chances of mistakes and repeat errors are very limited due to the training we provide our teams.
- Highly scalable solution for busy times of the year and growth prospects
- No downtime due to scribes on vacation or sick leave
- Reduced costs as you only pay for the amount of scribing you need
- No administrative overheads for training
- Free up in-house office space
- Lack of direct communication with the scribes
- Potential delays in fixing repeat errors
Family Medical Scribes Vs. Transcription
Another common question for medical practice admin teams is whether a family medicine scribe or transcriptionist is the more suitable option.
What Is The Main Difference?
Scribes and medical transcriptionists offer very similar services, but in the case of transcription, the service generally deals with audio recordings of patient consultations. Essentially, a doctor will record certain parts of a patient interaction and add some dictated words to be transcribed.
On the other hand, a scribe can either be online and listen to a consultation live, or they can take a full recording and extract only the relevant pieces of information and write up the patient notes.
Both options can be highly effective, but a family medicine scribe is often the most flexible option as it allows for live note-taking during a patient consultation.
Choosing The Right Service
Doctors who are used to dictating notes for human or computer-generated text often feel more comfortable starting off with a transcription service.
However, for maximum efficiency and time-saving, a family medicine scribe will likely be the best solution. The big question is whether you choose an online or offline scribing service.
And DataMatrix can offer those options.
Medical Scribe Services From DataMatrix
Here at DataMatrix, we offer family medicine scribe solutions to suit the needs and personal preferences of doctors. Some prefer not having a scribe listen to patient consultations live, and that’s why we offer both options.
The great advantage of having a live and online medical scribe is that there are no delays in updating the patient records. By the time the consultation is over, a scribe can have all the notes added, allowing the doctor to proofread them quickly.
All the details will still be fresh in memory, making this a highly effective and efficient process for doctors and patients.
We also offer medical scribe services that work with recordings of all patient interactions. Doctors simply use a dictation app on a phone, tablet, or computer and send the recording to us.
Our scribes will then type up the important information from those recordings with minimal input from doctors and admin staff.
Once the scribes are done, the notes will be formatted and ready for review in your EHR system.
All of our services and processes are built to be fully HIPAA compliant by integrating with your EHR systems.
We have implemented the best cybersecurity and data protection systems to ensure that our clients don’t end up taking unnecessary risks with their own compliance certifications.
Call DataMatrix For A Free Consultation
If you’d like to find out more about how our medical scribe and transcription service can integrate with your consultations and medical IT systems, then call our team today for free advice.
We offer a fully scalable solution that can adapt to your needs and requirements during quiet and busy times of the year.
You’ll no longer have to worry about staffing issues and will free up a lot of time for doctors to spend with patients.
This will be one phone call you won’t regret making.