The relationship between a patient and his or her Family Medicine physician can be as important as the care plan that’s created. Developing trust, open communication, and mutual understanding are critical to achieving not only patient confidence but follow through on the professional advice given.
The ability for Family Medicine physicians to establish deep relationships with those in their care has become increasingly difficult with the advent of growing, complex regulatory and administrative demands.
As an example, today, more than three-quarters of hospital- and office-based care is documented using electronic health records (EHRs). Thanks to significant government incentives, and most healthcare providers’ desire to improve both the quality and safety of care records, that percentage is increasing. As in many other sectors, however, an emphasis on use of technology comes with its burdens. Even for the tech-savvy, EHRs can be cumbersome, time-consuming, and threaten to distance physicians from their patients. While waiting for improved, streamlined technology (or the time to use it), more clinicians are implementing scribes as a solution to these problems.
In fact, a recent survey found that 88 percent of physicians believe that EHRs prevent them from developing authentic relationships with their patients, while 81 percent said that they have trouble focusing on diagnosing and treating patients to their fullest ability because their computers get in the way.
Another study provided empirical evidence on the productivity implications of practice choices about Electronic Health System use and the delegation of EHR-related work. Research found that more intensive computer use and greater delegation are independently associated with higher clinician productivity in ambulatory settings. Though an administrative hassle and productivity losses are, in reality, not as inevitable as some think. How EHRs are used (e.g. to delegate assistance or not) more often influences productivity.
But EHRs can be a stress that some say requires of administrative time from physicians every day, leading to frustrated healthcare providers contemplating early retirements and, in some cases, a reluctance to adopt the technology that could ultimately improve patient care.
In addition, happier patients who feel like their physicians are giving them personalized attention are more likely to be compliant with the treatments they are prescribed and to keep their health insurance.
As was noted in HealthIT Analytics, the “joy of medicine is dead and the EHR killed it.”
Family medicine providers across the nation are burning out, due in part to the extra responsibilities that come with this new environment. While a factor within nearly all specialties, these issues are falling heavily on family medicine providers – more so than some others, according to Cody W. Wendlandt, M.D., a Family Medicine physician, co-founder and Medical Director at Elite Medical Scribes. “We, as clinicians and health systems, are striving for the quadruple aim of positive patient experience, enhanced population health, reducing cost, and achieving provider satisfaction – something increasingly difficult to achieve.”
One solution rapidly gaining acceptance with Family Medicine practitioners is use of medical scribes to assist with documentation. Scribes participate in the patient visit – either in person or virtually – to record medical history, vital signs, prescription needs, and follow-up visits, while the physician can apply greater focus on consulting with those they serve. Utilizing scribes within the healthcare system can be highly effective and, many experts predict, will become a standard for achieving quality care.
While medical scribes are playing an increasingly important role in Family Medicine, so has the need to assure proper training. At Elite Medical Scribes, the education scribe candidates complete before assignment is both thorough and extensive.
Encompassed within the highly regarded Elite Academy, the nation’s leading medical scribe education program, cutting-edge knowledge and hands-on training practice have been developed for medical scribes that specifically prepares them for service within Family Medicine.
Utilizing world-class technology to provide an immersive online training experience, scribes receive real-time feedback and coaching from deeply experienced instructors who were once scribes themselves. Quality and complete HPIs, accurate charting, detail-oriented notes, including billing and coding, and true typing speed are all measured and coached to ensure superior results.
The labs, diagnostics and terminology that are utilized are the most common ones that are seen in family medicine. Even the simulation classes are specialty-specific to mimic the real world setting of a multi-patient schedule.
All told, the Elite Academy combines nearly 400 multimedia scenarios and many rounds of testing before students are allowed to advance. This rigor ensures the comprehension and mastery of skills that will be crucial on the job.
Elite Medical Scribes’ onsite training includes shadowing an experienced Elite medical scribe trainer during actual scribing shifts with a clinician. As the trainee progresses with knowledge and experience, more and more tasks are purposefully transferred until they are able to accurately document throughout the entire shift under the limited supervision of the trainer.
To ensure success, the preferences of each clinician are documented so that when a new scribe comes on board, they are aware of the professional’s needs and operational protocols.
There is also extensive training time dedicated to optimal EHR use. This is critical, as assistance with data entry is one of the most essential tasks medical scribes fulfill.
Elite Medical Scribes’ training is so highly regarded that leading medical schools and preparatory academies across the country have adopted the Elite Academy’s training program as part of their curriculum, to better prepare pre-med students whether they choose to become a scribe or not.
Throughout the duration of their career, Elite-certified medical scribes undergo regular reviews and assessments, while completing numerous continuing education programs to maintain the highest levels of performance.
Understanding best practices of working with scribes is as important as training scribes for their service. Educating clinicians on how to effectively use a medical scribe in their practice environments is essential. Elite Medical Scribes, for instance, provides a variety of resources to help healthcare organizations optimize their experience. As part of the implementation process, clinicians receive opportunities for seminars, tip sheets, videos, etc. on how to best integrate a medical scribe into their organization.
In addition, scribe trainers work one-on-one with physicians during the first few days of onsite. Trainers help educate them on the most effective use of scribes, and assist them with optimizing the clinician-scribe relationship.
While technology and science have grown over the years, the essentials needed to provide quality care are still very much the same as they were a century ago. Having the time to listen and understand a patient’s needs remains at the heart of Family Medicine practice – something made all that more possible with the use of medical scribes.