Using "Virtual" Scribes For Note Completion- An Unobtrusive Strategy to Combat Burnout by Improving Note Completion Time

12-21-2019 11:18

Submission Abstract-
The burden of EHR documentation is well documented and a major contributor to burnout. In early 2017, faculty at SIU CFM-Decatur completed a time study which demonstrated these providers were spending on average over 102 minutes a day in clinical work outside of time actually seeing patients in the clinic. The breakdown was at 35.7 minutes per day on clinic visit documentation and 66.6 minutes per day on EHR tasking/form completion. In October 2018, our clinic began using "virtual" scribes to assist providers in note completion. A Jabra device connected to a laptop in the exam room allowed an off-site scribe to listen to the encounter and record the history, physical exam, assessment and plan. The mean time savings for note completion for providers was 4.4 minutes for each encounter. Time spent on documentation varied by billing codes. Time saved on documentation of scribes averaged 6.6 minutes for 99213, 6.7 minutes for 99214, and 2.0 minutes for established preventive care visits. Provider feedback was positive except for infrequent technical problems, and allowed providers to interact with patients more directly. Use of virtual scribes has potential to combat burnout by reducing time spent completing EHR documentation.

Author(s):Mark Scott, MD
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Uploaded - 12-21-2019
Presentation Slides for L102 at the 2019 STFM Conference on Quality and Practice Improvement in Phoenix, AZ, December 7, 2019. Slides describe the time demands of EHR documentation and the association with burnout, a description of time study done at SIU Center Family Medicine Decatur, a description of how and why our practice implemented a "virtual scribe" model, the results of the study showing time savings for note completion and its potential impact to fight burnout, and other positives and negatives of virtual scribes on our practice. References cited.

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