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Medical Scribes May Ease EHR, ICD-10 Aches

December 10, 2014

Medical scribes offer hospitals and health systems a low-cost method to bolster productivity and boost physician efficiency and morale, particularly after an EHR implementation.

With the advent of electronic health records in patient care, healthcare organizations have been looking for a way to help physicians combat the deluge of mandates, while still maintaining a high level of efficiency.

One fast-growing position designed to remedy this situation is the medical scribe. A medical scribe's primary duty is to document a physician's encounter with a patient in the electronic health record system. Scribes enter information about a patient's history, the physical exam, the physician's assessment, notes on decision making and discharge and after care instructions.

Scribes can also help physicians with the transition to ICD-10, identifying quality measures and specific CPT codes for the providers and assist with follow up care.

Doctors Seek Another ICD-10 Delay

"After you have that initial encounter, scribes are really patient advocates and patient flow assistants for the physician, but on the patient's behalf," says Michael Murphy, MD, CEO of Aventura, FL-based ScribeAmerica.

"As the physician and provider is being pulled in many different directions, [scribes] are there coordinating all the different labs and tests for 15 to 20 different active patients that the physician or provider may have."

Budding Professionals
Scribes are typically medical students or college students looking to get into med school, although Murphy says physician assistants and nurse practitioners may also be scribes.

Scott Donner, MD, FACP, the Medical Director of Emergency Care Consultants, an organization that supplies scribes to various hospitals in the St. Paul MN area, says that the position is a good starting point for young people wanting to experience the workflow of a hospital.

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