What is a medical scribe and what do they do?
Medical scribes, also sometimes referred to as medical scribe specialists, hospital scribes, clinical information managers, doctor scribes or clinical scribes, are individuals trained to support healthcare providers through improved medical documentation management during patient interactions. Medical scribes also handle time-consuming administrative tasks within the clinical setting, allowing health professionals to focus on effectively treating patients.
Medical scribes fill a growing void, which has evolved out of the current healthcare structure, specifically the added responsibilities related to electronic medical records (EMR). Medical professionals are required by law to create and maintain accurate and complete patient medical records. Most healthcare providers now utilize EMR in lieu of the old paper charts. A patient’s medical record is updated during each hospital or clinic visit, and can be a valuable resource to the patient and their family.
That said, an extensive amount of information is required in a medical record, including patient history, physical examinations, vital signs, laboratory and diagnostic studies, consultations, and more. If a healthcare provider is required to update these records independently, a great deal of time is taken away from the patient. Elite scribes can instead perform the EMR documentation on behalf of the physician, eliminating both the burden and distraction of electronic documentation while leaving a clinician free to focus more on their patient.
Medical scribes are becoming more and more common across major health systems, hospitals, and clinics, due in large part to the benefit they provide to physicians and patients alike. Medical scribes allow for increased patient-physician interaction and contribute to decreases in physician burnout and increases in patient satisfaction.
Patients recognize the value a scribe brings to the patient encounter, and they can see firsthand how scribes enhance the quality of patient care. At the end of the day, medical scribes benefit the patient, the physician, as well as healthcare facility. And at Elite, our priority is to improve the quality of patient care.
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Ashton Chen, DO
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center