Scribes in an ambulatory urology practice: patient and physician satisfaction

Simi Koshy, Paul J Feustel, Michael Hong, Barry A Kogan
Journal of Urology 2010, 184 (1): 258-62

PURPOSE: The increasing use of electronic medical records during the clinical encounter brings not only benefits but also barriers that may affect the doctor-patient relationship and increase the work burden of the physician. We evaluated whether the use of an electronic medical record scribe in an academic urology program would ameliorate these problems.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We randomly assigned electronic medical record scribes to the office hours of 5 academic urologists, and using surveys we evaluated patient and physician acceptance and satisfaction.

RESULTS: Patients were accepting of an electronic medical record scribe and satisfaction rates were high (93% vs 87% in the absence of a scribe, p = 0.36). Patients were comfortable disclosing urological information in the presence of the scribe. Physicians were dramatically more satisfied with office hours when a scribe was present (69% vs 19%, p <0.001). We were unable to determine whether the presence of a scribe improves productivity.

CONCLUSIONS: Electronic medical record scribes in a urology practice may be a practical solution to provide documentation while maintaining or improving the doctor-patient relationship because they increase physician satisfaction and do not detract from patient satisfaction.

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