Medical scribes as a key help on the emergency department: An action to reduce the administrative burden for assistant physicians
M. Dosch, T. Hertig, J. Sinistra, D. Inderbitzin, A. Ringger, Presenter: M. Dosch (Solothurn)

Electronic health recording (EHR) has created an abundance of administrative activities that keep doctors away from their patients and holds them in front of their computer. Less time with patient decreases patient and physician satisfaction and increases risks for inappropriate prescription and malpractice. Our project aims to observe the impact of medical scribes on the administrative burden for assistant physicians on the emergency department. We hypothesize that patient and physician satisfaction will increase when physician have more time available for direct patient contact.
A scribe program was implemented on the emergency department during labour-intensive periods, that are typically outside office hours and therefore difficult to cover by secretaries. We performed a quasi-experimental prospective cohort study, measuring time used for documentation as a primary endpoint. Physician productivity in terms of time, and patients / physician satisfaction, quantified using Likert-Type scales, were used as secondary endpoints. A total of 10 physicians and 2 medical scribes took part in the study. Scribes were trained for 1 month before data recording.
In our data so far, we observed a significant reduction of the time passed in front of the computer for documentation, including reports writing, from 55.3% ± 2.6% without a medical scribe to 33.2% ± 4.8% with a medical scribe (p = 0.0145, Mann-Whitney test). Time passed with the patient was increased from 18.5% ± 2.2% to 46.2% ± 3.2% (p = 0.0012, Mann Whitney test). We observed no difference in the time used for patient care that were 13.87% ± 5% and 11.52% ± 2.9% (p = 0.6838, Mann Whitney test). Results from questionnaires are still in progress. The number of patients seen by the doctors was not controlled.
Our preliminary data indicate that medical scribes reduce the administrative burden for the assistant physician in the emergency department and increase valuable time with the patient. We expect that this will have a positive impact on patient and physician satisfaction too.
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