An EHR tool that has been competently designed can significantly reduce the sleepless nights that clinicians often face when documenting patient visits, which can ultimately help stave off clinician burnout by keeping their cognitive workload to a minimum. Data from the American Medical Association indicates that up to 44% of physicians experience burnout, which is considerably higher than other professions.
If asked why they chose the profession they did, a lot of doctors will say that it was because they wanted to help people, and putting an obstacle in front of a doctor that impedes their ability to help a patient is a good way for burnout to occur.
It is not uncommon for a doctor to keep normal office hours, get off work, and then spend their time after work taking care of EHR documenting. For every patient that a doctor sees, 10 to 15 minutes of charting time can be added to the day, and those extra minutes can quickly turn into an hour or more that the doctor gets behind. If you add in the time that it takes to go back and reread or add to the notes, the doctor gets turned into a typist.
Even the most tech-savvy, experienced doctors can find themselves spending more time charting on EHR systems than they did on paper. After they’ve seen a dozen or so patients, it becomes a challenge to try to remember who said what when they are editing their notes. Being put in a position where they have to remember such things for a patient’s chart is not good for the doctor or the patient.
One of the ways to reduce clinician burnout and make improvements to documentation is to hire scribes. These have been around for as long as EHRs themselves have, but they come with their own set of issues. In most cases, a medical office would hire a medical student to follow a clinician and input relevant information into the EHR, but many of them don’t know how to properly write progress notes, and just as many are not able to pick out the main points of a conversation. Additionally, if they do not type fast enough or have a strong enough memory, the scribe could miss key pieces of information that they need for the medical transcription.
Scribble is a piece of medical transcription technology provided by IKS Health that a lot of clinicians have adopted. It works by recording a visit from beginning to end and saving it, which lets the clinician remove parts of the conversation that are not pertinent to the progress note whenever they would like to. If the provider is using 360 Transcription services, instead of the provider listening through the recording and inputting in to the EHR, 360 Transcription will transcribe what is needed from the recording and input into the EHR for the provider to review and sign. The provider would only need to listen to the recordings if they feel the need.
There’s no doubt that EHRs won’t be going away any time in the foreseeable future, but that does not mean that clinicians should not augment their workflows, EHR technology, and the tools that they use in conjunction with health records. Remote scribes do an excellent job of taking secretarial tasks off of a doctor’s shoulders by efficiently getting the complete medical gist of a conversation, which goes a long way in staving off burnout.