Physicians who work with medical scribes are much more satisfied with their clinic hours, the length of face to-face time they spend with patients, and the time they spend charting, according to the first randomized clinical trial of scribes, recently published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine.
“Spending less time on documentation frees up the physician to pursue direct clinical care and care coordination, thus enhancing joy of practice and preventing burnout,” wrote professor and family medicine researcher Steven Lin, MD, and colleagues at Stanford University School of Medicine, in Stanford, CA. “These findings suggest that scribes may have a protective effect on physicians’ well-being.”
Results showed that scribes improved all aspects of physician satisfaction, including overall satisfaction with clinic (odds ratio [OR] = 10.75), having enough face time with patients (OR = 3.71), time spent charting (OR = 86.09), chart quality (OR = 7.25), and chart accuracy (OR = 4.61). In addition, charts done by scribes were more likely to be closed within 48 hours compared with charts completed by physicians (OR = 1.18).