Electronic Health Records & the Certificate of Medical Necessity

NPR’s Lauren Silverman reported last week that medical scribes are making a comeback in examination rooms and triage centers across the country. It’s no secret that doctors and nurses have heavier workloads than ever. As physicians work hard to treat a longer list of patients on a daily basis, doctors end up spending less focused time with each patient.

Thanks to Federal Healthcare Mandates and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, every doctor in America must make the full switch to using Electronic Health Records (EHR) by 2015, or they’ll end up facing expensive Medicare penalties. Converting handwritten notes & paper files to electronic databases can take up even more of doctors’ time, risking a decrease in the quality of overall care and physician-patient relationships. That’s where medical scribes come in. 

With a scribe on staff, doctors can pay close attention to patients without worrying about digital documentation during examinations. Scribes are professionally to trained to listen carefully to the patients, the nurse, and the doctor, while transcribing everything into the medical office’s electronic record system. Every transcription must be approved by the doctor, as they are ultimately responsible for the record. Although, according to Silverman, there’s no proven studies showing that patients’ experiences are improved by the time-saving presence of a medic scribe, it’s safe to say that minimizing distractions for the physician can only lead to more effective, attentive treatment.

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