"The vast majority of them have a defined plan that they will be trained in med school or PA school, and they use this for experience as well as an opportunity to learn medical terminology and it's great experience to watch physicians take care of patients, so it has a lot of downstream affects in terms of their education," said Donner.
Using scribes gives healthcare organizations a cost-effective way not only to help physicians with patient care, but to help with physician morale and productivity.
Andy Mulvey, MD, FACEP, the Regional Medical Director at EmCare North in Horsham, PA, has been working with scribes for five years in the emergency department. He saw the benefits of scribes even before the rise of EHR systems. Now that scribes are a big part of his emergency department, Mulvey says he sees a stark difference in physician productivity.
"Before you used scribes, physicians used to get out of shifts late and would fall behind on charting, and would be challenged to see as many patients," said Mulvey. "With scribes, you see more patients, you work more efficiently, and make sure that your charting is nice and robust and accurate."
"We didn't go to medical school to sit at a computer and be a secretary," said Mulvey. "We want to provide high quality patient care. We want to be in front of patients and families, spending time and communicating, so what we find with our docs is that the scribes help put them back in front of the patients. If you eliminate some of the time you have to spend in front of the computer, it helps you see more patients."