The US spends over $1000 per capita on healthcare related paperwork and administration. We are misallocating the valuable time of physicians by having them spend 20-40% of their day acting as the architect of medical records. This takes away time that could be spent with patients and drains a lot of the joy out of the practice of medicine. The expanded use of medical scribes is one way to help alleviate this burden. The cost is cheap; many pre-med students are eager for the experience. In settings such as the ED, this cost can be offset by the increase in productivity, as physicians are freed up to refocus their time and energy on patients. Scribes would shadow each encounter and write it up, sending this template note to the physician for editing and to fill in the assessment and plan. I would like to initiate a pilot program in the ED and run a prospective study that could later be written up in terms of cost benefit analysis, using the increase in RVUs and patients/hour as metrics.
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