The Case Against
A recent survey of hundreds of physicians from The Doctors Company, the nation’s largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer, revealed that the lack of standardized training and variability in experience among scribes poses major risks to data accuracy and delivery of care.
David Troxel, MD, medical Director of The Doctors Company, says the survey showed that most physicians allow scribes to enter medical histories, physical examination findings, vital signs, allergies, lab and imaging results, and medications, but a majority of scribes lack formalized training, which could be problematic.
“The rapid growth in the use of scribes who lack formal training and certification raises concerns of unintended consequences to EHR documentation,” he tells Medical Economics by email. “The absence of standardized scribe training programs, definition of scope of practice and licensure increases the risk that scribes may make errors potentially leading to adverse events.”
If such an event occurs because a scribe incorrectly entered information into the EHR, he says, the physician will potentially be liable.
“We anticipate that the use of scribes will continue to grow, so it is important to address these issues with standardized curricula and assessments that lead to certification,” Troxel says.
Scribes are considered non-licensed personnel that work under the direct supervision of licensed health care providers and there is not currently a required certifying organization nationally for medical scribes. However, organizations such as Scribe America and The American College of Medical Scribe Specialists offer their own training programs.