a scribe frees physicians to see
patients and justifies costs.
If the scribe enables the physician to see four additional patients
per day, the increased revenue
more than covers the cost of
the scribe. Financial benefits to
consider include: reduced transcription costs, less overtime for
ancillary staff, and improved billing
In addition to increased revenue,
another potential financial benefit
of scribes comes from the reduc-
tion of physician burnout, which
increases the need for costly
recruitment. Physicians value a
well-established scribe program,
allowing practices to attract and
retain quality practitioners.
Joy of Practice
Fortunately, many physicians
are coming together to address
physician burnout by developing
wellness programs, task forces,
EMR training, and discussion
forums. To best serve their
patients, physicians need to care
for themselves and achieve work-
life balance. A medical scribe is
one option to achieve this goal.
Doctors want to engage with
patients and feel like they are
providing optimal care. Medical
scribes help physicians achieve
this. A scribe allows the physician
to focus on the patient, not on documentation, and this is precisely
what current-day doctors are
missing. Let’s provide physicians
with a tool to reduce or eliminate
physician burnout and find the joy
in practicing medicine again.
Andrea Caliri, M.D., is medical consultant at MindLeaf Technologies.
Flexible Scribe Roles
X Accompanies the physician
into the patient exam room and
enters necessary information
into the EMR.
X Does not perform other office
X Is educated and trained to nav-
igate the EMR by a physician or
X Has a strong understanding of
medical terminology and the
X Service occurs in real time where
scribes are in a remote location.
Usually, a dictation component
takes place after hours.
X Communication occurs via laptop,
desktop, or tablet.
X Scribe listens to and records the
visit and rewinds the recording to
clarify any issues.
X Physician may ask the scribe to
access labs, radiographs, previous
X Depending on the number of
providers, as many as 10 scribes
who are familiar with doctors’
workflows may be assigned to
X Scribes are trained and managed
by a team leader.
X There are numerous variations
on dictation-to-text applications
using iOS or Android devices.
Voice recognition programs
can “push” the information
into specific EMR fields.
In addition, some services
provide voice recognition
supplemented with a
for improved accuracy.
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Mayo Clinic News Network, December 2015. Accessed
June 4, 2019 at newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/
2. A.K. Jha, A.R. Iliff, A.A. Chaouis, et al. 2019. A Crisis in Health
Care: A Call to Action on Physician Burnout. Massachusetts
Medical Society. Accessed June 4, 2019 at massmed.
3. M. Friedberg, P.G. Chen, K.R. Van Busum, et al. 2013. Factors
Affecting Physician Professional Satisfaction and Their
Implications for Patient Care. Health Systems and Health Policy.
Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation. Accessed June 4, 2019 at
4. S. Alemi. 2019. Treat Physician Burnout by Seeing More
Patients. Physicians Practice, April 8, 2019. Accessed
June 4, 2019 at physicianspractice.com/burnout/
5. V.E. Nambudiri, A.J. Watson, E. A. Buzney, et al. 2018. Medical
scribes in an Academic Dermatology Practice. JAMA Dermatology,
January 2018. Accessed June 4, 2019 at jamanetwork.com/
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and Doctor Eye Gaze Patterns Between Two Styles of Doctor
EHR Use in Primary Care Encounters. Proceedings of the Human
Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting. Accessed
June 4, 2019 at jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/
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