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Are scribes and electronic health records compatible?

April 29, 2014
Healthcare Consulting By LW Consulting Inc.

To achieve the high-tech future of the healthcare industry, should practices also consider a touch of the low tech as well? NPR recently cited the comeback of medical scribes in the workplace. These individuals could take care of the records that are taxing physicians unnecessarily, some doctors think. 

This is an idea that seems to be echoed by at least one vocal medical professional. In an opinion piece recently written for the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Alan Bank argues for the use of medical scribes in greater numbers in medical organizations.

The crux of his argument seems to be that the use of assistants who can follow medical practitioners and take notes for them can help the adoption of electronic records. Bank says that there might be a role for these professionals in the continuing drive to put more technology in the medical workplace, since they can use them while physicians are busy. 

As he describes it, the scribes wouldn't be used as a substitute for embracing technology, but to help doctors use electronic health records, a process which some may think currently be time-consuming and demanding. He claims that this will help everyone get exactly what they want out of their healthcare, from the physicians to the medical professionals to the scribes themselves.

"Over the past two years, I have been using scribes for all my clinic visits," he writes. "My patients either barely notice a scribe is in the examination room with me or comment on how they love having my undivided attention." 

If this is the approach that your practice is taking, you may need need to have more information on hand for proper billing practices relating to their work. A physician consultant can help both individuals and larger organizations go about these procedures the correct way.