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To Scribe or Not to Scribe

I was following a thread on an EHR forum where someone made the statement:

“If you are still using scribes in your practice then you didn’t choose the right EMR system.”

I’m not sure about this but I think this comment probably came from either a consultant or from a doctor who hasn’t started using EMR yet. And this is a misconception of electronic medical records: they’re not magic and they can’t read your mind. Someone has to enter the information into the system.

Now the time may come when voice recognition is so fast and accurate that much of the work can replace a real person, but this is still far from reality in the real practice setting. And an EMR system in which the templates all have checkboxes with ‘WNL’ may be quick and easy to use but is not really documenting anything.

In our particular case, I can see an established patient for a complete eye exam, document everything and do the encounter coding by myself in a couple of minutes. But to expect to do this on 60-70 patients in a day, especially new patients, is a folly.

Doctors who are able to do everything by themselves aren’t seeing that many patients and are not making the best use of their valuable time.

What do you think?

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