Virtual scribes linked to reduced EHR time at Mass General Brigham

The use of virtual scribes at Somerville, Mass.-based Mass General Brigham was linked to reduced time in the EHR for providers, researchers found.

The May 24 study in JAMA Network Open analyzed 144 outpatient physicians who employed virtual scribes — either in real time or asynchronously — for at least three months between January 2020 and September 2022 at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital, both in Boston. The digital tools were "associated with significant decreases in total EHR time, time on notes, and pajama time," according to the report.

"These findings suggest that virtual scribes may be valuable tools for health systems looking to reduce the burden of the electronic health record for physicians," said lead author Lisa Rotenstein, MD, of the department of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in a May 24 statement.

Physicians who experienced the largest drop in EHR use were medical specialists, those who had higher baseline EHR times, and those who had the greatest decrease in note contribution.

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