The Necessary Evil
Shocking as this may sound, documentation is one of the least favorite tasks in practices today. It also turns out that not everyone loves Electronic Health Records (EHR). Some feel that data entry is more time-consuming than handwritten notes, and that using a keyboard creates a barrier between doctor and patient.
Does this sound familiar? Consider using a scribe.
Scribes can speed up the documentation process and improve the doctor-patient relationship. You'll have a better connection if you're facing the patient rather than being distracted by a keyboard.
Keep in mind, that while your scribe inputs the documentation, you're still the one with the license on the line. You have final responsibility. If you take this path it's essential that you meticulously review all transcribed documentation before signing.
Adding a scribe is not a quick fix. Hiring a new staff member takes time, but this may be an investment well worth the effort. Training an existing team member takes time too, plus you'll have to hire someone to fulfill his or her former responsibilities. Expect 60 to 90 days to get a scribe up to speed and to make sure the relationship is a good fit.
It would be a good idea to practice what this could look and feel like in your practice. Perform some dry runs using a staff member and see how it feels to talk your way through your documentation. Many doctors find that the increase in productivity well offsets the cost of an additional staff member. Your patients may also be thrilled with your full and undivided attention.
Ultimately, quality documentation, whether on paper or electronically, saves time and allows you to be more present with the patient.