Physicians seek best ways to reduce documentation burden that contributes to burnout.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is good – but not perfect – for documenting visits between physicians and patients.
A new study by hand surgeons examined the best ways to log information exchanged by doctors and patients, in hopes of reducing the computerized charting that can contribute to burnout.
“While AI proved to be a promising tool, some verification and correction is necessary for accuracy,” said a news release from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
"In our practice, we created a task force to better understand and correct physician burnout to study what we know to be the top reason for burnout – patient documentation," Rothman Institute orthopaedic surgeon Michael Rivlin, MD, FAAOS, said in the news release. Rivlin is associate professor at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.
"We wanted to look at ways to maximize the physician's workload at the maximum level of their license and remove burdens that can lead to burnout by finding methods to outsource certain tasks, such as documentation, as this can be time consuming and redundant," Rivlin said.
In the study, three orthopaedic hand surgeons evaluated 10 standardized patients with prewritten clinical vignettes. Clinical documentation was performed and examined for four modalities:
"Our physicians who were not involved in the documentation acted out these vignettes and each scenario contained an element of distraction to determine if the AI would be thrown off by various nuances that might occur during a clinical visit – such as a parent and a minor sharing their thoughts, or a patient interjecting a story about a friend's experience with hand surgery in the middle of providing an update on their own surgery," Rivlin said.
In total, 118 clinical encounters were documented including 30 AI scribe, 30 VRM, 28 transcription service, and 30 medical scribe notes. Clinical notes were deemed acceptable or unacceptable and assigned a letter grade – A, B, C or F – using an eight-point scoring system. An attorney reviewed all notes for medical legal risk.
Overall, all modalities performed well with similar documentation outputs between each, according to the AAOS report. Specific findings include:
"The AI-based virtual scribe service is a promising tool to help decrease documentation burden without significantly lowering the quality of documentation compared to transcription and voice recognition software services," Rivlin said. "While AI has some limitations, it continues to improve as the technology advances. These results create a palette of options for physicians to compare outputs should they want to explore new modalities."
The study, "Use of Artificial Intelligence for Documentation in Orthopaedic Hand Surgery," was presented at the annual meeting of the AAOS.