How a scribe tool linked to Epic EHR is helping ease physician burnout

Some doctors at Massachusetts General Physicians Organization have saved more than two hours per clinical session with virtual scribe technology.
By Bill Siwicki
03:02 PM
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How a scribe tool linked to Epic EHR is helping ease physician burnout

RESULTS

"We began with the desire to reduce physician burden and return them to the joy of practice of medicine, as well as the experience of better work-life balance," Ting said. "The Scribble program has helped us achieve those goals. One third of our physicians indicate saving one hour of time per clinical session; another third saved between 1 to 2 hours; and nearly another third saved more than two hours per session."

And what are the physicians doing with that extra time? Twenty-five percent state they are seeing more patients and have opened their panels to more new patients. More than half state they are spending more time creating work-life balance. And most note they spend more time thinking about and attending to the needs of their patients.

"Patients have been pleased with the improved patient-doctor relationship," Ting said. "They note that our doctors are more attentive to them, and less distracted by the computer in the exam room. One patient noted, 'I really like Dr. X, but now for the first time I can see his eyes instead of the top of his head.'"

One doctor's experience is fairly typical of the results the provider organization has seen from Scribble, Ting explained.

"Before virtual scribes, she used to spend about 3-4 hours a day writing her clinic notes," he said. "Now, she reports that her notetaking time has decreased to 30 minutes or less. With the saved time, she has been able to launch a group visit program to encourage healthy lifestyles and educate patients."

Her program has already seen results, with one of her patients losing 40 pounds in six months. This doctor never would have been able to implement the new program before the scribe technology, Ting said.

ADVICE FOR OTHERS

"We see Scribble as a component of a larger suite of solutions, which we call the Kitty Hawk portfolio, that look at the problem of physician burnout and administrative burden as a holistic one that requires a multi-pronged approach," Ting explained. "In other words, Scribble is not a panacea, but it is a large and critical part of addressing the whole problem."

Be prepared to discover that relieving the documentation burden will reveal opportunities for one's physicians and practices to address other longstanding issues, such as coding improvement and automation, scheduling optimization, medication management, data abstraction, decision support, and so on, Ting added.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com