Time and again studies report that ophthalmologists spend limited time interacting with their patients as EHRs take up a substantial portion of their time. And luckily for eye care practices, there is a viable solution that almost any eye care practitioner can use. That is none other than ophthalmology medical scribes. Are you an ophthalmologist who feels that you are neglecting your patients while you try to keep up with the clerical workload? Well, then it's time you use an ophthalmology medical scribe to help reduce documentation overload and fully focus on patients. Today, more and more ophthalmologists are using scribes as a way to increase productivity, streamline workflow and improve patient care. If you haven't yet, you should give medical scribes a try. They're really worth it. Keep reading to know more.
Has EHR requirements negatively impacted ophthalmology practice efficiency and can a scribe help?
We know that EHRs are associated with concerns of negative physician-patient relationships and increased physician documentation. As per a study, EHRs consumed 27% of an ophthalmologist's time during patient visits, taking an average of 10.8 minutes per visit and 1.9 hours for a half-day clinic session. Several studies have demonstrated that the burden of the EHR on ophthalmologists in particular has a negative effect on productivity, increase in time spent on documentation and decrease in patient volume. However, another study conducted at the Department of Ophthalmology, UT Health San Antonio, Texas, in the year 2018 found that implementing scribes into an ophthalmology practice increases efficiency by allowing ophthalmologists to fill their calendar with more patients.
Reasons for increase in use of medical scribes in ophthalmology practices
The following are some of the reasons that have contributed to a rise in scribe usage in recent years in ophthalmology practices.
Declining percentile profit margins
It is an undeniable fact that most ophthalmologists are working harder but earning less. Managed vision care can affect the profit margins of an ophthalmology practice. The only solution is to accept less managed care or choose to schedule more patient visits. The second option, which involves seeing more patients, gives unquestionably greater hope since more and more patients are being covered by some type of managed care plan. However, to see more patients the ophthalmologist has to delegate some tasks like documentation to scribes. With a scribe taking over the documentation tasks, not only reduces their non-clinical workload but also increases efficiency of patient care. Simply put, by delegating documentation to the scribes the ophthalmologist becomes more productive.
Increased adoption of EHRs
Another greatest challenge faced by ophthalmologists is inputting patient data into EHRs. It is an obstacle to their productivity as they spend a substantial portion of their time devoted to EHRs. However, eye doctors do have a choice. They can hire ophthalmology scribes who can increase productivity by freeing them from non-clinical tasks like EHR data-entry. In short, ophthalmology scribes can shift physicians' focus from the computer screen to patients.
National Health Care Reform
The National Health Care Reform promise is to improve the health of all Americans by providing affordable and quality care. This, in addition to policies that aim specifically to improve child health, should lead to an increase in people needing eye care. If an eye doctor wants to actively participate in this mission dedicated to the betterment of public health, they can take the help of scribes to increase their patient volume. Also, they should not forget to qualify for the federal incentives by adopting e-prescribing and PQRI which will increase reimbursements for ensuring adherence to quality standards.
Benefits of using scribes in an eye care practice
1.Increased revenue: The economic benefits of using scribes stem from the ophthalmologist's ability to be more efficient and see more patients a day. A study revealed that utilizing scribes in an ophthalmology practice can increase efficiency, allowing more patients to be seen. And perhaps the by-product of increased efficiency is more revenue for the practice.
2.More time for patients: With a virtual scribe to document patient encounters in real-time, an ophthalmologist has more time to talk with the patient, trying to hold eye contact. A study indicates that patients like physicians who make eye contact as they find it more empathetic. With a scribe, an ophthalmologist can focus entirely on patient needs without EHR distraction.
3.Increased efficiency: Implementation of scribes into an ophthalmology practice results in increased efficiency. Scribes in particular reduce the average patient visit duration allowing for additional time within a workday to increase patient volume.
4.Enhanced quality of life: Using scribes decreases work-related stress which increases workplace satisfaction and overall quality of life. With no after clinic hours charting ophthalmologists were able to go home and have dinner with their families. This indicates that there's a significant improvement in their quality of life and work-life balance.
The bottom line
With more baby boomers crossing that threshold every day, ophthalmologists will be seeing more patients. And this means the amount of paperwork they will have to do will get out of control. It's high time you get help to do the onerous paperwork. Start using Scribe4Me's ophthalmology medical scribes. They have good knowledge of ophthalmic terminology and procedures to ensure accurate charting. What's more? By cutting the EHR workload you can focus purely on diagnosing and treating eye conditions. Sounds impressive? To find out if scribing can work for you give us a call at (908)760-8935.
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Documentation is an important daily clinical responsibility. In order to optimize patient care, physicians are always on the lookout for new ways to effectively and efficiently document patient visits.
The use of virtual medical scribes has become increasingly popular in the recent years, as medical practices across the country are on the constant lookout for ways to reduce clinical documentation overload, thereby improving overall productivity.
The clerical burden associated with EHR usage is attributed as the number one cause of physician burnout. We also know that physicians spend twice as much time on EHRs and other clerical tasks compared to the time providing patient care.