Medical Documentation Specialists are More than Scribes

Mar 9, 2022 | Blogs

Physicians are continually being asked to do more with less. This is evident in the growing number of clinicians reporting burnout. Many practices turn to scribes to help alleviate administrative work like charting in the electronic health record (EHR). Today, there’s a new approach to the traditional scribe, one that brings even greater value to the physician: The Augmedix Medical Documentation Specialists (MDS). 

Below are the five principal differences between MDSs and scribes that highlight why MDSs deliver much more value: 

  • Remote vs. In-Person

Traditional scribes are usually in the room with the physician and the patient. For encounters that are sensitive in nature, having someone other than the physician or nurse in the room can make patients feel uneasy, especially when practices or exam rooms have limited space. The pandemic has also proven that it’s not safe to have more care team members within close proximity to patients due to the high infection rates and risks of spreading COVID-19.

An MDS, on the other hand, participates in the encounter remotely. The patient is thereby afforded a greater sense of privacy and overall safety is enhanced by limiting the number of people within the exam room.

  • Automated Technology vs. Manual Notes

Traditional scribes are prone to error in fast-paced environments. In many cases, the scribe acts as a mere transcriptionist, scrambling to capture as much as possible as fast as possible. This means the patient note may end up missing critical information or even having information that is not relevant to the overall encounter. The result is that the physician has to comb through incomplete or inaccurate notes to find information or to fix errors after patient visits have concluded.

Augmedix’s approach leverages technology to ensure accuracy and drive efficiency. At Augmedix, MDSs use the proprietary Notebuilder tool, which leverages artificial intelligence (AI) technologies such as automated speech recognition (ASR) and natural language processing (NLP) to extract clinical data from the conversation, and combines these with medical datasets to generate structured, comprehensive medical notes. Note quality is verified by the MDS and final notes are transferred to the patient’s EHR.  The Notebuilder tool is capable of generating the clinical note up to 50% faster than the time it typically takes a scribe to perform the same task. In addition to delivering notes faster than under a manual method,  automated medical documentation solutions provide more consistent note quality.

  • Professional vs. Temporary Work

In most cases, scribes are medical students or residents who are in the role for short durations – typically during study gaps. Because they’re temporarily filling the role, turnover is high. As such, physicians are continuously being exposed to new scribes, compelling them to frequently repeat their indoctrination process (introduction to office personnel, protocols, workflows, etc.), which in and of itself is quite time consuming.  Conversely, an MDS is a speciality trained, full-time professional position, thus providing much-needed stability to the role. 

  • Speciality Trained vs. One-Size-Fits-All

While clinical protocols are largely standardized, workflows can vary from practice to practice. In most cases, traditional scribes bring some basic knowledge to the job, but they are not trained for each physician’s unique needs. With traditional scribes, physicians get what they get. 

This is not the case with an MDS. For example, at Augmedix, each MDS receives extensive training that covers medical documentation requirements and methods as well as best practices. Prior to assignment, each MDS must complete extensive training and pass a rigorous exam. Furthermore, the training does not end there – each MDS receives specific training based upon the medical specialty to which they are assigned. All MDSs receive ongoing training to ensure they are up-to-date on the latest automation tools releases.

  • Clinical Support vs. Transcription

Finally, MDSs are capable of providing additional services for the physician. For example, physicians have continuous two-way communication with their Augmedix MDS throughout the day. This enables the MDS to act as an always present clinical assistant to the physician. They can order tests, send patient quality measure reminders, manage referrals, and perform coding services to help drive accurate billing and timely reimbursements. This can alleviate the time spent by physicians and other clinical staff on such administrative tasks, further leveraging a healthcare system’s valuable resource base.

The Bottom Line

In these challenging times, physicians need all the help they can get. Augmedix Medical Documentation Specialists can deburden physicians from administrative tasks to an extent not possible by traditional scribes.