Hate Dealing With an EHR? Use a Scribe and Profits Increase

Neil Chesanow

Disclosures

February 27, 2014

In This Article

A Godsend for Doctors From the Pre-Internet Era

Rivell, who operates a combination family practice and urgent care center, is part of Doctors Care, the largest chain of urgent care centers in South Carolina. Last July, the company introduced EHRs to its more than 50 centers.

Rivell is 58. Before joining Doctors Care, he had been a soloist for 28 years. He had only done paper charts.

"It was obvious to the office manager and people around me that I was getting pretty frustrated," he recalls. "I don't scream and yell and throw stuff, but I was just bummed out."

"I thought I was a real good diagnostician and great with patients, and suddenly, all that came to a screeching halt," he says indignantly. "I'm the highest-paid guy in the office by a factor of 10, and I'm sitting there whacking away at a computer!"

Emergency physician Thomas Gibbons, MD, President of Doctors Care, based in Columbia, South Carolina, was a personal friend. Gibbons asked Rivell if he would like to participate in a pilot project that Doctors Care was conducting on the use of scribes in urgent care.

"Hell, yes!" Rivell exclaimed.

"In the process of switching over to electronic medical records, it became apparent that it was slowing down our throughput in a large way as far as getting patients in and out of the office," Gibbons says. "We sell high-quality care in a fast, friendly, efficient manner. It was impacting that. That was the reason we started looking at scribes."

"What I would like to do is have the physician spending more time with the patient and less time with the EHR," he says. "You can have better eye contact. You can focus. You can improve wait times. You can improve throughput times."

Rivell has now been working with scribes for about 4 months. A preliminary verdict?

"I can't say enough about them," he says.

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