Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Physician Business Ideas - High Tech Scribes - The Bridge to EMRs

The other day I went to see an opthalmologist about a shingles infection - or Herpes zoster opthalmicus, as it it known to the opthalmologists - surrounding and threatening my right eye.

I could not help but notice that the opthalmologist had hired two medical high tech scribes to take notes on my history and physical findings. High tech Scribes, bearing laptops, are becoming common in medical practices and ER settings and on hospital rounds. Scribes follow doctors around from patient to patient, enterering information on a laptop as they go.

Scribes work particularly well in ERs, where doctors have a lot to do and little time to do it, and whatever is done, must be documented for the record.

Scribes freed up doctors to do what they do best, and they overcome a technological barrier to EMRs - the slow adoption of EMRs by doctors who don't wamt to waste time typing data into a computer. As one doctor said, "I went to medical school not secretarial school."

For more information on this subject, see USA Today, Octoeber 6, "'High-Tech Scribes,' Help Trsanfer Medical Records into Electronic Form." The Scribe approach should help hospitals, only 1.5% of which have EMRs, and doctors, about 15% of whom have adopted EMRs, overcome reluctance to use EMRs.

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