Last week, I wrote about how to get your staff on board with the concept of scribing. I will expand on that topic in this article and will focus on the benefits doctors derive from using a scribe in the exam room. Most doctors are interested in scribes to help them with entering data into the electronic health record (EHR), and that is a great benefit, but there are many more. For those of you who miss David Letterman on late night TV, here is my top 10 list for why you should use scribes.
Benefits of using scribes
The EHR record is no longer the doctor’s responsibility. Spend more time with the patient instead of typing, clicking and searching drop-down lists. Make eye contact with the patient.
Patient records are more complete. Doctors are usually rushed, but the scribe is able to sit quietly at the end of the desk and enter all the test results as dictated by the doctor and also summarize what the doctor tells the patient.
The scribe is a witness to what happens in the exam room; this can prevent poor patient behavior and can protect against an untrue legal claim.
The scribe can go get things as needed. This could be a special instrument that is stored in another room or it could be to take a pair of glasses to the lab for a repair while the exam is underway. The scribe can even go fetch a parent or loved one near the end of the visit.
The doctor leaves the exam room first, leaving the scribe to finish with the patient. This can put an end to small talk if desired and the doctor does not have to walk patients in or out of the exam room. This saves time.
Patients are impressed with the presence of the scribe and hearing the terminology that the doctor uses for the record. Patients love having the full attention of the doctor. The patient experience is enhanced.
If the scribe is trained as a frame stylist/optician (supertech), there is no optical handoff needed. The doctor does not have to repeat his or her recommendations. The scribe hears the doctor’s recommendation first hand and carries it out.
Increase the eyeglass retention rate because the flow from exam room to optical is seamless. The scribe has already bonded with the patient.
The doctor does not have to search or page for a technician or optician (who are often too busy to respond). The scribe can take care of additional testing, contact lens insertion or frame selection as needed.
The scribe takes care of all coding, fees, insurance discussions with the patient, and the recall date. The doctor can assist if there are questions and should review the charts as time permits.
Try scribing on a small scale as a pilot program. Just have one of your techs sit in with you and record the data. Once you see all the benefits, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.
Best wishes for continued success,
Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Editor, Optometric Management Tip of the Week
Dr. Gailmard's new book, Practice Management in Optometry: A Blueprint for Success Based on the Optometric Management Tip of the Week, is now available on Amazon.