Requirements for electronic health records are greater now than ever, and that burden is exacerbating the problem of physician burnout. However, there might be a solution: the medical scribe.
New research led by Neda Laiteerapong MD, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University Chicago Medicine, indicates the real value of adding this healthcare professional to a medical practice.
It gives physicians more time to treat patients, add new ones, and schedule more return visits. This research also indicates that the initial cost of employing a medical scribe can be offset in a year or less, after which the possibility of increased profit follows.
“We did an economic evaluation, a pretty common technique for healthcare administrators,” Laiteerapong said. “And we did it for a total of 30 specialties, plus physician assistants and nurse practitioners.” The study was published October 6, 2020, in Annals of Internal Medicine.
The research assumed that every patient visit would be reimbursed by Medicare. Based on that, Laiteerapong and her team determined the number of additional visits needed to have 90% certainty of breaking even one year after hiring a scribe. However, most practices are made up of a combination of Medicare, Medicaid and privately insured patients, making it possible to reach that break-even point even sooner.