Medical Scribes Increase Efficiency, Revenue for Allina Health

By using medical scribes in the emergency department, Minneapolis-based Allina Health was able to achieve significant efficiency gains that resulted in extra income for the system, according to a study in ClinicoEconomics and Outcomes Research.

Researchers tracked physician productivity and hospital revenue, as well as patient satisfaction and the quality of physician-patient interaction, before and after the introduction of scribes into an Allina Health ED.

Before the addition of scribes, the four physicians in the study saw 129 patients in 65 clinic-hours, spending 40 minutes with new patients and 20 minutes for follow-ups. After scribes were introduced, the physicians saw 210 patients in the same number of clinic-hours, spending 30 minutes with new patients and 15 minutes for follow-ups.

The introduction of scribes had no effect on patient satisfaction, which was high at baseline, but increased the time of physician-patient interaction. The use of scribes was found to be associated with an increase of both direct and indirect revenue gains of between $142 and $2,398 per patient, with a total of $205,740 additional revenue brought in from the additional 81 patients seen by the four physicians using the scribes.

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