In JAMA, several Texas medical doctors and health information experts discuss the rapidly expanding number of “medical scribes” being hired by physicians to enter medical information into electronic health records (EHRs). Many doctors are finding electronic health records to be inefficient and unhelpful, they write, yet governments continue to mandate them.
“Many perceive that the inefficiencies of EHRs are adversely affecting the quality of care, and because physicians see fewer patients per day, income may decline,” the authors write. “Although physicians approve of EHRs in concept and appreciate their future promise, the current state of EHR technology has increased physician dissatisfaction. Poor EHR usability, time-consuming data entry, reduced patient care time, inability to exchange health information, and templated notes are central concerns. Physicians emphasize that EHR technology — especially user interfaces — must improve, and a new industry has emerged nationally to provide physicians with medical scribes.”
Yet these scribes may not have appropriate training, and the use of them is likely to expand in ways that could become harmful to patients, the authors suggest.
(Full text) The Rise of the Medical Scribe Industry: Implications for the Advancement of Electronic Health (Gellert, George A. et al. JAMA. Published online December 15, 2014. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.1712)