3 Benefits Of Medical Scribes In The Emergency Department
Medical scribes are trained professionals who often shadow doctors to document a visit in real-time or they may transcribe audio from a visit. Although medical scribes can be helpful in any medical environment, their services may be the most useful in the emergency department (ED). There are several benefits that make their services priceless.
The ED is a hectic environment with most hospitals noticing an increase in cases on the weekends, and hospitals, such as urban hospitals, may have a significantly higher caseload than their suburban or rural counterparts. EDs can benefit the most from the efficiency that comes with a medical scribe. Part of the increased efficiency comes with reducing the amount of time spent with patients that are non-urgent cases, which may be the preponderance of cases in the ED, especially when the locality has a high rate of uninsured people that may use the ED as their resource for primary care.
Improve The Provider-Patient Relationship
One of the most important aspects of the provider-patient relationship is that patients feel their provider is listening to them and is genuinely concerned about their problems. In the age of electronic health records (EHR), it is often necessary for providers to use a computer or tablet to take notes about the patient and their concerns. Unfortunately, this can make patients feel like their provider is not listening to them as much. A medical scribe affords providers the opportunity to engage in active listening with their patients and maintain eye contact. Additionally, providers can engage in examinations without forgetting to input something into the EHR. Even with the availability of computers in the examination room, some providers continue to write down notes to input into the computer later. With a scribe available, this becomes unnecessary.
Minimizing errors is critical to competent medical care, especially in the ED. More fast-paced, urgent situations may be at higher risk for errors due to lack of coordination between multiple people in the room or instructions being misheard. Having someone else in the room taking notes and transcribing oral instructions significantly reduces the instance of medical errors. For providers that continue to use a notepad to write notes, there will be fewer mistakes due to poor penmanship or misspellings.
Another area at high risk for errors is when prescribing medication whether given in the ED or as a prescription. Electronic orders significantly reduce the risk of prescribing errors, but communicating orders before entering them into the EHR is where mistakes might occur. Scribes are not only important for helping ensure the right medication is given but ordering the right dosage. The correct dosage is important for all patients to prevent undertreatment and overdose, but this is even more critical in pediatric patients who are more sensitive to overdose and often require specific dosing based on weight.
When you are trying to find ways to improve efficiency and reduce errors in the ED, hiring multiple medical scribes might be the answer. With several benefits associated with medical scribes, their services are worth the investment.