Scribes help doctors see more patients

Results are in: they boost productivity, and save money and patient time, study shows

Using medical scribes helps doctors see more patients, reduces costs and also cuts the amount of time patients spend in hospital, an Australian study shows.

Doctors who had a medical scribe to document consultations, print paperwork, and arrange tests were able to see 16% more patients per hour in the ED than those who didn’t have the administrative help, according to the research reported in the BMJ.

In the study of five EDs in Victoria, patients also spent on average 19 minutes less in hospital when a scribe was involved in their care.

Only one in 300 consultations, or 16 scribed consultations, involved a patient safety incident, mostly involving patient identification.

In fact, in half of the incidents reported, the scribe helped to prevent a medical error, for example by spotting that the wrong file was open when tests were being ordered for a patient.

The study, led by

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