One Year of Family Physicians' Observations on Working with Medical Scribes.
Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine : JABFM
; 31 (1): 49–56
Rethinking empathy decline: results from an OSCE.
The clinical teacher
The immense clerical burden felt by physicians is one of the leading causes of burnout. Scribes are increasingly being used to help alleviate this burden, yet few published studies investigate how scribes affect physicians' daily work, attitudes and behaviors, and relationships with patients and the workplace.Using a longitudinal observational design, data were collected, over 1 year, from 4 physicians working with 2 scribes at a single academic family medicine practice. Physician experience was measured by open-ended written reflections requested after each 4-hour clinic session. A data-driven codebook was generated using a constant comparative method with grounded theory approach.A total of 361 physician reflections were completed, yielding 150 distinct excerpts; 289 codes were assigned. The 11 themes that emerged were further categorized under 4 domains. The most frequently recurring domain was clinic operations, which comprised 51.6% of the codes. Joy of practice, quality of care, and patient experience comprised 22.1%, 16.3%, and 10.0% of the codes, respectively.Our study suggests that integrating scribes into a primary care clinic can produce positive outcomes that go beyond reducing clerical burden for physicians. Scribes may benefit patient experience, quality of care, clinic operations, and joy of practice.
View details for PubMedID 29330239
Impact of Scribes on Physician Satisfaction, Patient Satisfaction, and Charting Efficiency: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
Annals of family medicine
2017; 15 (5): 427–33
The phenomenon of empathy decline among medical students during training is widely accepted, with evidence based largely on studies using self-administered instruments. Recently, researchers have called into question this phenomenon, in light of new findings that suggest a discrepancy between self-administered empathy scores and observed empathic behaviours: for example, during objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs). Our objective was to compare observed empathy among medical students in different clerkship years using an OSCE.Participants were medical students in their first or second year of clinical clerkships, enrolled in a required family medicine clerkship at Stanford University. Participants completed an OSCE that was directly observed by trained faculty staff, who used the Measure of Patient-Centered Communication (MPCC) instrument to measure empathic behaviours. Statistics were used to determine correlations between observed empathy and the students' year of clerkship, gender, and specialty preference.A total of 129 medical students, evenly divided by gender and clerkship year, participated. There was a possible trend towards higher MPCC scores among students in their second clerkship year compared with students in their first year (p = 0.09), which became more significant when adjusted for outlier effects (p = 0.05). There was no difference in performance by gender. Students interested in a 'people-oriented' specialty scored higher in 'handling the patient's frustration' compared with those who are interested in a 'technology-oriented' specialty.In our study, observed empathic behaviours were not lower in the second compared with the first year of clerkship training. More research is warranted to investigate the apparent discrepancy between self-administered empathy scores and observed empathic behaviours. New findings suggest a discrepancy between self-administered empathy scores and observed empathic behaviours.
View details for DOI 10.1111/tct.12608
View details for PubMedID 28164429
Scribes are increasingly being used in clinical practice despite a lack of high-quality evidence regarding their effects. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of medical scribes on physician satisfaction, patient satisfaction, and charting efficiency.We conducted a randomized controlled trial in which physicians in an academic family medicine clinic were randomized to 1 week with a scribe then 1 week without a scribe for the course of 1 year. Scribes drafted all relevant documentation, which was reviewed by the physician before attestation and signing. In encounters without a scribe, the physician performed all charting duties. Our outcomes were physician satisfaction, measured by a 5-item instrument that included physicians' perceptions of chart quality and chart accuracy; patient satisfaction, measured by a 6-item instrument; and charting efficiency, measured by time to chart close.Scribes improved all aspects of physician satisfaction, including overall satisfaction with clinic (OR = 10.75), having enough face time with patients (OR = 3.71), time spent charting (OR = 86.09), chart quality (OR = 7.25), and chart accuracy (OR = 4.61) (all P values <.001). Scribes had no effect on patient satisfaction. Scribes increased the proportion of charts that were closed within 48 hours (OR =1.18, P =.028).To our knowledge, we have conducted the first randomized controlled trial of scribes. We found that scribes produced significant improvements in overall physician satisfaction, satisfaction with chart quality and accuracy, and charting efficiency without detracting from patient satisfaction. Scribes appear to be a promising strategy to improve health care efficiency and reduce physician burnout.
View details for PubMedID 28893812