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Alternative PA’s save healthcare dollars: Interview (Includes interview and first-hand account)

A recent study released by the Conference Board of Canada, states that physician assistants could save the healthcare system more than a billion dollars over the next 13 years. One way to address this is with enlisting the expertise of a medical scribe.

The modern clinician is bogged down with electronic health records, paperwork and computer data entry. ScribeCanada Healthcare is a relatively new concept to Canada, aimed at proving an effective way to help provide clinicians the support they need.

ScribeCanada Healthcare medical scribes offer one-on-one, real time, productivity personnel who help clinicians. These duties can be customized for the clinician’s needs. To find out more, Digital Journal spoke with Dr. Michael Murphy, co-founder, and CEO of ScribeCanada.

Digital Journal: Dr. Murphy, thank you for the interview. What are some of the challenges facing healthcare today?

Dr. Michael Murphy: Thank you for having me. Healthcare is undergoing rapid changes that require provider organizations and physicians to adapt to new models of care delivery. One of the challenges we’re seeing in the United States and Canada is physician burnout.

DJ: How has the role of a doctor changed in recent years?

Dr. Murphy: Technology has disrupted the medical industry and continues to influence the day-to-day role of a doctor. Especially in regards to documentation, physicians are now responsible for accurately recording encounters through Electronic Medical Records (EHRs). There are more administrative tasks, leading to increased physician burn-out.

DJ: What can be done to help medical professionals manage volumes of paperwork and electronic data?

Dr. Murphy: Doctors have become more collaborative, merging clinical work with care teams and scribes who input patient data, and focus on the clerical aspects of care delivery. One of the key drivers of success is the ability to integrate the right people to alleviate the burden, so that doctors can operate top-of license.

The use of an electronic medical prescription service.

The use of an electronic medical prescription service.
MC4 Army (CC BY 2.0)

DJ: Please explain how ScribeCanada Healthcare came about?

Dr. Murphy: Canada has long been revered as having a robust healthcare system. We developed ScribeCanada as a solution to a myriad of newer challenges Canada faces with the influx of EHR technology and regulations. Our history of implementing successful scribe programs has allowed us to join Canada’s mission to optimize provider efficiency, and increase positive health outcomes.

DJ: Does the service involve automation?

Dr. Murphy: Our scribe programs are designed with specialty specific training programs, and we tailor workflows and processes to each of our clients. We also utilize technology to bring scribes to doctors who otherwise aren’t able to use conventional in-person scribe programs through our TeleScribes service.

Our teleScribes are integrated into the clinical setting, although they are not physically present in the providers office. In this sense the teleScribe is able to document in real-time without being present.

DJ: How is the effectiveness of ScribeCanada Healthcare assessed, in terms of metrics?

Dr. Murphy: We look at multiple metrics to determine success. First, we assess how many more patients a provider is able to see due to scribes. Especially in Emergency Departments, if a large number of patients leave without being seen (LWBS) this is an indicator we can measure and improve. We also review patient and physician satisfaction scores by conducting surveys.

DJ: What types of institutions use the ScribeCanada Healthcare services?

Dr. Murphy: ScribeCanada is currently available in outpatient and emergency departments. We expect to also include scribe programs for private practices in the coming months.

DJ: What other projects are you working on?

Dr. Murphy: We have recently begun implementing TeleScribes in Australia and we are excited about the opportunities to innovate population health efforts in the region. We also launched QueueLogix and CareThough, two companies designed to address revenue cycle management, chronic care management, and the shift to value-based care.

Dr. Michael Murphy is CEO of HealthChannels and ScribeCanada.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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