Medical scribes are tasked with clinical documentation, but what impact to these individuals have on physician and patient satisfaction or charting efficiency? A study published in the Annals of Family Medicine evaluated scribes in their abilities to ease clinical workflow.
The study included family medicine physicians who were randomized to receive a scribe for one week followed by another week without one for a year. The scribe documentations were reviewed by physicians before signing. In the weeks without a scribe, physicians performed all charting duties.
Results showed scribes were able to improve rates of overall satisfaction—allowing physicians to have enough time with patients, while improving chart quality and accuracy. While scribes did not have an effect on patient satisfaction, they did increase the proportion of charts that were completed within 48 hours.
“To our knowledge, we have conducted the first randomized controlled trial of scribes,” concluded first author Risha Gidwani, DrPH, and colleagues. “We found that scribes produced significant improvements in overall physician satisfaction, satisfaction with chart quality and accuracy, and charting efficiency without detracting from patient satisfaction. Scribes appear to be a promising strategy to improve health care efficiency and reduce physician burnout.”