Practicing medicine in today’s changing environment presents its own unique difficulties.

We are all aware of the increased scrutiny from the government, mounting regulations on reimbursements, Meaningful Use requirements, MACRA, and a variety of other factors influencing the way we practice medicine. In many cases, we have been forced to turn our attention away from quality patient care just to keep up with the demands of paperwork, documentation, and record-keeping.

Without assistance, clinicians have had to juggle all this information from every direction on their own. In busy situations—as is the case in most emergency rooms and successful practices—some of this information may be accidentally missed or inaccurately recorded. This can lead to incomplete medical records, misunderstandings between medical personnel, and in worst-case scenarios, it may lead to incomplete, inadequate, or improper patient care.

Whether you are an ED physician, hospitalist, hospital-based specialist, or outpatient clinician, there are many benefits for using medical scribes in your practice.

Use our Medical Scribe ROI Calculator to help you determine the return-on-investment if you move forward with the use of medical scribes.

calculator closeup

How to Use the ROI Calculator

Enter the number of providers*, annual costs*, and the amount of time* per day spent by each provider on the activities that could be eliminated by leveraging medical scribes. Then enter the estimated cost* of the medical scribe specialist.

The result will show the potential time saved by each clinician per day as well as the number of additional patient visits per day each clinician could see if they used 100% of that additional time saved to see more patients. Then see the potential revenue impact of seeing more patients against the cost of providing the medical scribe(s).

* You can use averages across your provider base to get a quick snapshot, or you can use provider-specific numbers for a more specific measure.

The ROI Calculator offers two models to choose from. Select which one best suits your needs, or try both and compare the results.

The Medical Scribe Model

A medical scribe accompanies the physician during each patient visit (on-site or remotely) and assists only with the documentation. Separate staff (nurses, medical assistants, or other clinical staff) or the physicians are responsible for the clinical aspects of care, such as obtaining vital signs, performing medication reconciliation, or providing patient education. In the medical scribe model, there are typically 3 scribes for every 2 physicians, although this can vary by the setting of care, etc. This ensures minimal interruptions in workflow by allowing continuous rotation of medical scribes.

Note: Medical Scribe Model ROI Calculator Assumptions:

  • Each scribe is considered a new FTE for the organization. The calculator uses a 1:1 (scribe/provider) to calculate the labor cost associated with adding medical scribes.
  • The provider will allocate 100% of the time gained to see additional patients. In reality, most providers will spend some of the additional time with existing patients and some of the additional time with new patients.

The Team-based Model

A specially-trained allied health professional (MA, Nurse, etc.) accompanies each patient from the beginning to the end of their appointment to provide team care services, such as health coaching care coordination and in-reach panel management, In addition, the allied health professional assists with the clinical documentation while the physician conducts his or her part of the patient visit. Typically, in a team-based approach, there will be 2 to 3 allied health professionals per physician and they perform all the clinical support functions in addition to assisting with the healthcare documentation.

In the team-based model protocols and templates are designed for specific common complaints and chronic conditions. The allied health professional uses these tools to guide the initial history they record during rooming. During this step, the allied health professional also updates the past medical, social, and family histories, reviews and sets up orders for any maintenance items that are due, and reviews the patient’s medication list and refills. The allied health professional exits the room and huddles with the physician to share what had been learned.

The allied health professional and the physician enter the exam room together. The physician confirms and expands upon the preliminary history and examines the patient, which the allied health professional records in real-time. The physician makes a diagnosis and crafts a treatment plan with the patient and the allied health professional. The allied health professional continues to record the assessment and treatment plan and queues any orders (if the requirements are met for scribe order entry) for the physician’s signature. The patient asks any further questions and then the physician moves on to the next patient.

The allied health professional remains with the patient to reinforce the treatment plan, provides an updated medication list and visit summary, engages in motivational interviewing, and provides self-management support. The allied health professional will assist with any appointment or referral scheduling activities to close out the patient encounter.

Note: Team-based Model ROI Calculator Assumptions:

  • The organization will leverage existing resources (MAs, MTs, LVNs, Techs, etc.) and will add new FTEs and/or provide a bump in pay to their existing labor resources at a rate less than 1:1 (scribe/provider). The calculator uses a factor of .75 to calculate the labor cost.
  • The provider will allocate 100% of the time gained to see additional patients. In reality, most providers will spend some of the additional time with existing patients and some of the additional time with new patients.