Recent studies indicate that physician burnout rates are rising. According to Medscape’s 2015 Physician LifeStyle Report, burnout rates are the highest for those specializing in critical care, urology, emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, OB/GYN, and neurology. Provider burnout results in a negative patient experience which, in turn, affects revenue and reputation. EMR/EHR documentation is a major factor contributing to clinician stress. Medical transcription services and medical scribes can play a crucial role in helping providers with charting tasks.
Expert Support to Accurately Document Patient Records
Relying on medical transcription companies and/or medical scribes to document medical records is a proven way to ensure accurate and timely documentation. The author of a recent Physicians Practice article on physician burnout clearly described the healthcare provider’s dilemma as follows:
“Physicians have become coders, billers and transcriptionists along with the duties of being a doctor and caring for patients. We are given multiple new initiatives and this makes it difficult to keep up to date with each one. It increases the time in patient charts for what are non-medical reasons. We also have to keep up on our clinical medicine in addition to the politics of medicine.”
Both doctors and their clinical and clerical staff are overburdened with answering phones, relying to emails and addressing labs, even as they manage patients all day.
Though both medical transcriptionists (MTs) and medical scribes can accurately document a patient’s medical record, their tasks and settings are quite different.
Outsourcing medical transcription basically involves getting dictation transcribed by trained professionals in an offshore location. Dictation options include toll-free telephone or uploading the digital recording to a secure FTP server. Service providers have moved ahead with the times with EMR/EHR integrated medical transcription solutions. MTs use free text to document verbatim into the electronic record as they listen to the recording.
On the other hand, scribes are present in the physician’s office and listen directly to the physician in person to document a patient encounter. They document into structured paper or electronic templates and therefore use free text minimally. The documentation process takes place real time, and scribes can clarify physician responses and request prompt physicians to provide certain details that the EHR template requires.
Advantages of Medical Transcription/Medical Scribe Services
- Both MTs and scribes have an in-depth knowledge of medical terminology and can provide accurate documentation for all specialties
- They can help physicians resolve the productivity challenges associated with EHR
- By relying on these services, physicians can find more time for their patients and see a larger number of patients
- Getting professional support for documentation frees up office staff for other key tasks
“Kill Stress before it Kills You”
The most important benefit of delegating documentation tasks to professionals is that it helps reduce the risks of burnout. As a physician, you need to take time out, get together with family and friends, exercise, pursue a hobby, holiday and do things that will help you relax. The goal should be to kill stress before it kills you.