ER Wait Times Reduced, Patient Satisfaction Improved

Jan 16, 2014, 08:40 ET from Texas Alliance for Patient Access

According to TAPA, Metroplex Physicians and Hospitals Hail Benefits of Scribe Program

AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hospitals everywhere are seeing an ever-increasing number of patients come through their emergency rooms. In spite of increased pressure, some facilities in Dallas/Fort Worth have been able to decrease wait times and increase patient satisfaction, thanks to a program that uses medical scribes to complete all documentation for the physician. Scribes shadow the physician throughout their shift and document the entire patient encounter, in real-time.

One busy hospital in Dallas/Fort Worth reported wait time to be seen by an ER physician decreased by nearly 40 percent over the past year, in spite of an increased number of ED visits. In addition, the average length of stay fell about 30 minutes. Patients surveyed expressed overwhelming satisfaction about their entire visit, and the hospital's overall ED rank improved from the lowest quartile to the top quartile less than two months after the implementation of scribes.

"Scribes allow me to spend my time more efficiently by handling the non-patient care tasks," said Dr. Bradford Commons, medical director at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Alliance, Texas. "I'm able to see more patients, which improves my overall workflow and shortens the wait time in the ED. This increased efficiency also allows me to spend more quality time with each patient."

Scribes are typically pre-med or pre-nursing students and go through intensive training before they begin work on the ED floor. Scribes learn medical terminology, documentation, hospital flow and more. Many of them eventually go on to medical school.

Nick Fung is a local scribe and aspiring medical school student. He hopes to become a maxillofacial surgeon.

"Scribing allows me to gain clinical knowledge and learn how an emergency medicine physician approaches a patient," said Fung. "The ability of the doctors to pick up on small details from a patient's history or physical exam can lead to a life-saving diagnosis. It's an incredible skill that I need to develop as a future clinician," he added.

PhysAssist Scribes, the first medical scribe company, has been serving the Dallas/Fort Worth area for 18 years, and reported that the number of hospitals participating in scribe usage has steadily risen. "After the government-mandated switch to EMR's, what used to be seen as luxury is starting to be viewed as a necessity," said Alex Geesbreght, president of PhysAssist Scribes. "Once the burden of documentation is removed, doctors can spend their time treating the patient, rather than the patient's chart."

"As a physician who has used scribes for the past 17 years, I'm still amazed at how much more efficient I have become," said Dr. Lawrence Hum, senior vice president of clinical services for a physician group in the Metroplex. "That extra time allows me to see more patients and reduce the door to doctor time, update patients and families more frequently, and provide thorough exit interviews to make sure patients understand their aftercare."

Texas Alliance For Patient Access is a statewide coalition of doctors, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and physician liability insurers. TAPA was formed in 2001 with a singular goal: improving access to health care through enactment and preservation of meaningful medical lawsuit reforms.


Jon Opelt
Executive Director
Texas Alliance For Patient Access
(512) 703-2156

Sarah Watson
PhyAssist Scribes, Inc.
(817) 507-0277

Alex Geesbreght
PhyAssist Scribes, Inc.
(817) 496-1009

SOURCE Texas Alliance for Patient Access