Distracted Doctoring It's Time to Return to Patient Centered Care

virtual medical scribe cost

Mar 30, 2023

Distracted Doctoring It's Time to Return to Patient Centered Care

You would have probably heard of 'distracted walking' or 'distracted driving', the two growing concerns that impair safety on the road. But have you heard about distracted doctoring? Distracted doctoring is a problem that can endanger the safety and health of patients due to the use of digital devices that take attention and focus away from patients. Yes, a modern medical practice is full of distractions. The endless clicks within EHRs may detract from doctor-patient interactions. A study says that patients value undivided attention and perceive doctors who use a computer in the exam room as distracted. Well, then what can doctors who must use electronic health records do? Taking the help of medical scribes can help doctors return to patient-centered care free from EHR distractions.

Do EHRs distract doctors and threaten patient safety?

As with any technology, EHR is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it provides instant access to patient data, improving quality of care and patient outcomes. On the other hand it can be a source of distraction, detracting doctors from providing patient-centered care. Endless typing, clicking and checking boxes on electronic records are highly distracting to patient care. Just like how distracted driving can increase the chances of vehicle crashes, distracted doctoring can result in medical mishaps. Doctors spend nearly 33% of their time looking at the EHRs rather than the patient. They are likely to miss out on nay non-verbal cues, which, in turn, can lead to a misdiagnosis. According to Runjhun Misra, MD, Medical resident, University of Connecticut, "Distraction in this profession wouldn't just mean an erasable mistake, it could cost a life". Medical scribes are a fix to this problem. Doctors can consider using medical scribes to fulfill the requirements of inputting data without being distracted when caring for patients. With a scribe to take care of the documentation part of the patient visit the physician can solely focus on the patient and the necessary care they may need to administer.

Can EHR use damage physician-patient relationships?

A doctor-patient relationship is so powerful. Stronger the relationship better the patient outcomes. Researchers at Brown University found that use of EHRs had a negative impact on physician-patient relationships. Physicians cited different reasons depending on whether they worked in an office setting or a hospital. Office based physicians lamented that EHRs affected their quality of interactions and relationships with patients while hospital-based physicians felt they spent less time with patients as they had to spend more time on EHR-related tasks. Using a medical scribe to handle the EHR data-entry tasks is one proposed solution to mitigate the negative effect EHRs had on physician-patient interactions and the reduced time for patients.

Use of medical scribes

The potential solution to address EHR-related distractions is the use of medical scribes. Medical scribes are highly trained professionals who can provide doctors with the much needed documentation support by performing the EHR-related tasks. There are several models of incorporating medical scribes in a medical practice. The traditional model is the use of in-house scribes who accompany the doctor throughout their workday and document patient encounters. The other one is the outsourced virtual scribe model where documentation assistance is provided by an outsourced company. The virtual medical scribe remotely accompanies a doctor during patient visits and documents patient interactions in real-time directly into the EHRs. Virtual medical scribes have gained immense popularity as a means to untether doctors from EHR and tether to patients. Simply put, medical scribes are a promising solution to put an end to distracted doctoring and give the utmost attention during physician-patient encounters.

The upshot

The EHR documentation requirements, which frustrate and distract doctors, might hinder patient engagement and even jeopardize patient safety. Using medical scribes is a perfect fix to this problem. With the scribe taking over the EHR documentation tasks allow physicians to focus purely on patient diagnosis and treatment plans. Medical scribes are indeed a proven strategy to enhance patient and provider interactions and reduce patient safety risks. If you are considering scribes, Scribe4Me has a pool of highly trained and experienced scribes to provide high-quality EHR documentation. While you provide medical care, our scribes maintain your patient's records. To learn more give us a call at (908)736-4180.

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