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Scribes save doctors time and hospitals money, new study finds

January 31, 2019 / Joanne Finnegan

Scribes can benefit both doctors and hospitals, according to a new study. Using scribes increased emergency physicians’ productivity so they can care for more patients and ultimately saved hospitals money, according to research published in the BMJ. The study, which included 88 physicians, was conducted in five emergency departments in Australia. The doctors worked shifts in which they were randomly assigned trained scribes to help them with a multitude of administrative tasks, including documenting medical care while a doctor evaluates a patient. Doctors who had a scribe to help them increased their productivity by the number of patients per hour by 15.9% overall and the stay in the emergency department decreased by 19 minutes per patient, the researchers found. The study also looked at whether there was any adverse effect from using scribes and found no significant risk to patient safety.