Government // Leadership
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10/8/2009
02:38 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
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Hospital Hires 'Scribes' To Help Docs With E-Records

The University of Virginia has hired "scribes" with laptop computers to follow doctors around as they treat patients, updating electronic medical records as they go. The antique-sounding position is one example of the steps hospitals are taking as they struggle to adopt e-health records.

The University of Virginia has hired "scribes" with laptop computers to follow doctors around as they treat patients, updating electronic medical records as they go. The antique-sounding position is one example of the steps hospitals are taking as they struggle to adopt e-health records.Other hospitals take different steps to input EHRs. Some doctors dictate notes, which are later taken down by professional transcriptionists at the computer, or use wireless computers on wheels as they make their rounds, according to a report in USA Today.

The University of Virginia program sounds crazy, acknowledges one scribe.

"When I tell my friends I'm a scribe, they ask me if I use a quill," says [Derek] Leiner, 22, a University of Virginia graduate who plans to apply to medical school.

But doctors at the university see the value.

University of Virginia doctors say they appreciate the help, noting that the scribes reduce their paperwork and allow them to spend more time with patients.

"I can sit and really listen to the patient, instead of scribbling notes while I'm talking to them," says third-year resident Heather Borek, who checks the scribes' work before approving each chart.



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