Remote medical documentation solutions provided by scribes and medical transcription companies have always been a feasible option for physicians. The future is bright for such services, according to a recent Medscape report. The report predicts that a combo of Google Glass and remote scribes could represent an effective EHR documentation model for the future.
The report, published on Jan 9, 2017, discusses the combination of Google Glass technology and remote scribe services developed by Augmedix. Google Glass allows a remote scribe to take detailed notes for the physician which allows the latter to ensure more direct and focused patient care. Augmedix says that this human-backed technology model is helping physicians meet federal requirements for electronic health record (EHR) data entry. Medscape reports that one doctor described the Google Glass remote scribe combo as “a perfect marriage between technology and humans”.
According to a paper published in JAMA in April 2015, the use of medical scribes by physicians increased substantially with EHR implementation. Physicians find EHR data entry complex and time consuming, and scribes ease the situation by providing real-time documentation of dictation. It is expected that, by 2020, physicians will employ up to 100,000 scribes. In fact, by helping in the charting task, scribes and medical transcriptionists can help reduce EMR/EHR-associated physician stress and burnout.
The new technology platform harnesses the advanced features of Google Glass to enhance the consultation experience for the physician as well as the patient. The procedure works as follows:
- The doctor wears Google Glass at the consult
- The remote scribe observes and hears the doctor and patient
- The scribe documents the encounter
- At the end of the day, the doctor verifies the file to approve the notes taken during the visit
- The notes become permanent after the physician grants approval
Like expert medical transcriptionists, scribes have in-depth knowledge of medical terminology and procedures related to a wide array of specialties including family medicine, cardiology, orthopedics, oncology, emergency medicine, and more. They also have good comprehension and listening skills and typing speed. They stay alert to participate in the patient encounter and multitask to meet physicians’ requirements.
Similar to a medical transcription service company, scribes allow physicians to:
- Pay more attention to their patients
- Free up time to see more patients
- Enhance productivity and efficiency
- Ensure accurate clinical documentation and billing, and
- Improve patient satisfaction
Scribes also work onsite in the medical facility. However, according to Augmedix, their remote-scribe model is 25% to 50% cheaper than an in-person model. It saves physicians up to 3 hours a day on the computer and reduces the healthcare provider’s stress.
The success of the remote scribe model is good news for the medical transcription industry. The medical transcription outsource model involves getting dictation transcribed by trained professionals in an offshore location. Leading companies offer dictation options such as toll-free telephone and uploading of the digital recording to a secure FTP server. They offer EMR/EHR integrated medical transcription solutions. Medical transcriptionists listen to the recording and document verbatim into the electronic health record using free text.
With the shortage of human scribes in the U.S., the services provided by remote scribes and medical transcription companies will continue to prove invaluable when it comes to meeting EHR documentation requirements.