In a recent article by Patricia Kirk, published on Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 by the enews/management briefing service Dark Daily, the article makes reference to a claim made by EHR vendors who “contend that the need for medical scribes is temporary because eventually EHR use will evolve in ways that will make scribes obsolete.”
I hope not for a number of reasons.
First off, with a well-documented shortage of well-trained physicians I cannot imagine a scenario where we as a country would want to burden our scarce resource of physicians with the responsibility of doing data entry. As I have said before this would be analogous to having the CEO of Macy’s operate a cash register or having Tom Brady work the concession stand at half-time. Unless I was doing some type of wacky marketing thing, if I owned stock in Macy’s (which I do not) or the owner of the New England Patriots (which I am not) I would certainly want to make sure I was getting the most value from my investment and having doctors doing data entry is clearly not the solution. I bet getting the most value from an investment is taught on a regular basis at Harvard!
Secondly, and this one might get a chuckle from many readers, if Obamacare truly increases the number of people with health insurance (40M more people) and those newly enrolled seek additional healthcare services what physician is going to have time to provide these additional services and do the increased level of administrative tasks associated here? This is simply a question of supply and demand…another topic I am sure is taught at Harvard.
And finally, one of the biggest reasons it doesn’t take an MBA from Harvard to see the value of today’s medical scribes is simply this…you do not lower the cost of healthcare by replacing a $12 – $20 per hour resource (a medical scribe or a medical transcriptionist) with a $200 – $500 per hour resource (the physician). That’s madness and begs the question, why aren’t more hospital CEOs, CFOs, CIOs and physicians themselves seeing this?
To effectively lower the cost of healthcare we need to have the right people, with the right tools (technology), in the right roles, doing the most cost effective work possible. This includes Healthcare Documentation Specialists of all types, including Medical Scribes and Medical Transcriptionists. This is why it doesn’t take a Harvard MBA to see the value of today’s medical scribes!