Dictation vs. Scribes for Documentation Productivity

Practice Management

dictation_vs_scribes With the development and expansion of electronic technology comes additional ways to save time, and to incorporate more productive input into the time we utilize. It is the same in the world of medicine as it is in the world of logistics, manufacturing or even marketing. However, in medicine, sometimes the use of standard computer technology can compete with or hinder the achievement of the intended goal.

The use of computerized Electronic Health Records (EHRs) is supposed to make the recording and retrieval of patient information easier and more efficient. However, that does not always seem to be the case. The time-honored method of dictation and transcription provides ease of recording, but lacks in data retrieval capability. The computer based EHRs provide ease of data retrieval, but not always so for data input.

For example, when a physician is examining a patient and he or she needs to add data, make notes, or update information in the patient’s EHR it is usually done by selecting items in a drop-down menu or actually typing entries on a keyboard. So, is it fair to the patient to do that while the patient is sitting there? Is it really time-effective to enter data manually instead of dictating it after the patient has left? On the other hand, shouldn’t the physician make those necessary changes and additions while they are fresh in his or her mind? It is a conundrum, and many physicians have addressed this dilemma by taking on scribes to enter data into the EHR as the patient is being examined by the physician. That frees up the physician’s hands, and allows him or her to focus on the patient while dictating information to the scribe.

However, the use of a scribe does mean an additional expense to the total cost of the EHR implementation. Granted, the additional cost of the scribe may be offset by not having to pay a transcriptionist, but will still represent an added cost. 

Another concern with the use of a scribe is the integrity of the doctor-patient confidentiality. While the scribe certainly must abide by the same laws and ethos as the practicing physician, some patients feel uncomfortable with additional people in the examination room. A nurse is at least a person whose presence as a medical professional is acceptable; a scribe’s presence may be perceived as unnecessary by some patients. It may even make the patient uncomfortable. A patient’s comfort factor is essential to an effective doctor-patient relationship.

Can the EHR documentation be achieved effectively and efficiently by alternative means?

Fortunately, there is a viable option: productivity focused transcription solutions by a company like Emdat. A transcription platform that is focused on productivity  like Emdat allows the physician to dictate on-the-go via a mobile transcription and speech recognition app (works on booth Droid or Apple smart phones). The mobile app allows can automatically enter the dictated note/data into the patient record where it populates specific fields and is eminently retrievable. The problem of efficient documentation while maintaining effective and efficient patient care is solved without the additional expense of a scribe.

With a unique transcription and voice recognition platform like Emdat, productivity is not lost with the use of an EHR. Emdat helps you realize the ROI promised by your EHR vendor.  The result is less distraction from patient care, less expense than using a scribe, increased productivity and a more all around effective, efficient, seamless EHR implementation.

For more information on the Emdat system please feel free to contact us at Healthcare Information Services, LLC.