The Indispensable Role Ophthalmic Scribes Play Within A Retinal Practice

virtual medical scribe cost

Jun 08, 2023

The Indispensable Role Ophthalmic Scribes Play Within A Retinal Practice

The introduction of EHRs significantly increased the time and documentation pressure for providers. Wondering how much time providers typically spend on documentation tasks? Well, for every hour physicians spend with patients, they spend two hours on EHR documentation and other desk work. Huff! That’s a lot of time. The volume of documentation that retinal specialists need to complete after each patient visit and the time it takes to do so is the number one reason for a loss of productivity and efficiency. However, it is the responsibility of retinal specialists to modify their practice patterns to keep pace with complexities that arise with burdensome documentation requirements, higher patient load and decreasing reimbursements. Experts have heralded scribe usage as a potential antidote to ease the stress of retinal practices and improve efficiency.

How do ophthalmic scribes help?

Ophthalmic scribes are specially trained to assist retinal specialists with all the administrative tasks associated with performing a retinal examination. Their duties also include reviewing prior EHR visits, preparing the electronic charting for the subsequent appointments, interpreting imaging results, documenting the findings of retinal examination into the EHR, recording diagnoses, physician’s interactions with patients, treatment plans, prescriptions and much more. In addition, ophthalmic scribes keep an eye on scheduling and help better manage patient flow. In short, “Scribes help retinal specialists to spend more time with the patient focusing on being a physician and less time messing around with the records, thus improving overall clinic efficiency”, says Curtis L. Hagedorn, MD, practicing at Colorado Retina Associates PC in Denver.

Why take the help of ophthalmic scribes?

Data entry and other administrative tasks associated with EHR adoption can take up a significant portion of a physician's time. Scribe utilization increased patient volume and physician productivity as they reduced the encounter time with each patient, improved clinical documentation and coding compliance and increased physician and patient satisfaction scores. Dr. Curtis Hagedorn, a retina-only ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal surgeon at Colorado Retina Associates, says that it is impossible for him to use the electronic health records without the help of an ophthalmic scribe. Retina is one of the most demanding subspecialties of ophthalmology, having a workload that rivals other surgical subspecialties. The increased use of anti-VEGF treatments has increased practice volume 12-fold says Dr.Timothy G. Murray, MD, Founding Director/CEO at Murray Ocular Oncology and Retina Miami, Florida, US. The stress that this high patient load brings in can be reduced to some extent by scribes who set up injections and educate patients and their families about the procedures. Scribes assist retinal specialists during injections and also enter patient data into electronic health records. Retinal practices that employed the scribes saw an increase in patient volume and a smoother workflow.

How ophthalmic scribes can increase efficiency and improve patient care

Having the ophthalmic scribe prepare the patient's imaging results and electronic health record before the retinal specialist reviews the chart is one great technique to boost retinal practice efficiency. In order to save physicians time, ophthalmic scribes also record interpretation of the OCT image. During the visit, ophthalmic scribes document the findings and the results allowing the physician to focus on interacting with patients, leading to a more positive patient experience. Moreover, with the scribe to take care of the electronic charting, frees the retinal specialist to focus on diagnosing and treating patients with retinal conditions.

It is now clear that employing ophthalmic medical scribes in a retina practice increases productivity and efficiency by allowing physicians to see more patients in the same amount of time. Moreover, effective physician-patient communication has a significant positive impact on health outcomes by increasing patient satisfaction. And above all increased efficiency is crucial for a retinal practice to sustain when confronted with diminishing reimbursements, rising overhead costs, greater regulatory requirements and increased focus on patient experience. If you are a retinal specialist intending to improve efficiency and focus on patient care it’s high time you hire Scribe4Me’s ophthalmic scribes. Our ophthalmic virtual scribes are extensively trained to take your practice to the next level – improving efficiency, patient care, patient satisfaction and revenue. If you have questions about hiring an ophthalmic scribe or how they can elevate your retinal practice, email us at [email protected] or give us a call at (908)736-4180.

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