How to use scribes to get off the computer and in front of patients
Over a one-month period, 100 patients from Motion Sports MD were randomly asked to participate in an observational study before their visit. The group consisted of 58 men and 42 women. No other demographic information was collected. All visits were recorded with a high-resolution video camera positioned on a tripod in the corner of the room to maximize the view of the physician-patient encounter.
The videos were later reviewed by a trained research assistant who recorded the times for each measured gaze behavior across the total visit length. The total visit length was defined as the total amount of time both the physician and patient were in the room excluding the physical exam. The physical exam was excluded from the total visit length due to it being a time of minimal communication and direct eye contact as the physician is focusing on examining different aspects of the patient’s body.
Popular online: How will health IT trends evolve in 2017?
The gaze behaviors were measured in minutes. These included the amount of time the physician and patient had direct eye contact (direct gaze), the amount of time the physician and patient were both looking at the computer screen (screen sharing), and the amount of time the physician and patient were looking elsewhere (no gaze). Finally, descriptive statistics were reported for each gaze behavior coded using SPSS software.
The average total visit length was 8.31 ± 3.94 minutes across the 100 patient encounters. Direct gaze occurred for an average of 6.72 ± 3.29 minutes during a patient encounter, which translated into 81.8% of the total visit length. The physician and patient spent an additional 1.13 ± 1.29 minutes of the patient encounter screen sharing (11.88% of the visit). The physician only spent an average of 6.31% of the total visit length gazing elsewhere (0.47 ± 0.54 minutes).
Popular online: Watch out for these HIPAA violations in online reviews
This study illustrates the power of the EHR system when combined with the use of scribes. Having an effective EHR design allows physicians to get off of the computer and to have more meaningful encounters with their patients. Yet, many physicians are struggling with how to use EHR and maintain patient satisfaction. Formal education on ways to implement EHR and other technology into a medical practice can prevent the trial and error process the EHR system has become for many physicians.
Standardized training for scribes can also help physicians transition more easily to an EHR system and spend more of their time focusing on patients. When a scribe has a thorough understanding of how to operate the EHR system and what to expect during a patient encounter, then he or she can be more easily relied upon to do the majority of the physician’s charting. This results in a medical practice that is more profitable, more efficient, and that has a higher patient satisfaction.