I would like some feedback on the whole “medical scribe” thing. I have always had an issue with it. It’s nothing personal against the people doing it. It’s just weird. Weird that there is another person in that room or in another room listening (I guess privacy doesn’t really matter that much?). Weird that we add new people to this bloated system to pay for in order to justify bogus metrics and documentation. Instead of fixing that issue we create a whole new profession. This article by the AMA says is that:
Based on 2015 data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, the study aimed to determine the number of visits needed to make a scribe program profitable. The study found that the mean cost of implementing a scribe program was $47,594 for the first year.
To make the scribe program profitable after one year, physicians from all specialties had to see two new or three returning patients each day. This was calculated with the assumption that physicians and other health professionals would work 220 eight-hour clinic days per year and that scribe shifts mirrored that schedule.
Do you see how this is rationalized? Only two new patients a day or three returning patients each day. Ummm, that’s a lot to add and that is just to break even. I just don’t get it. Why is seeing more patients a day better? Yes, someone is typing for you but you are more emotionally and mentally drained from seeing those extra patients.
The article says doctors shouldn’t be the ones paying for it but who does? If you are still a private fee-for-service doctor then you cannot afford this. If you are working for a hospital then I guarantee you are going to be told to see those extra patients.
But maybe I am wrong? Do you have a scribe? Or do you have an opinion about this? I would love to hear it.