A scribe’s view: ‘Committed to delivering efficient care’

February 7, 2017

Ashley Li, BS, chief scribe in the University of California, San Francisco’s urologic oncology and melanoma departments, says urology scribes help streamline patient care.

Ms. LiAshley Li, BS, chief scribe in the University of California, San Francisco’s urologic oncology and melanoma departments, says urology scribes help streamline patient care. Often, having scribes also presents physicians with the opportunity to mentor aspiring providers.

“A majority of our scribes are pursuing careers in health care, such as physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. Thus, I recommend physicians who are considering a scribe to be open to teaching, as most scribes have not undergone any formal medical training,” Li said.

“When I first started my scribe position, I had no prior experience working in urology. I have become familiar with common diagnostic tools in urology, including cystoscopy and urodynamics, and what results may indicate. After a couple months, I’ve been able to anticipate the physician’s next steps. We now work together smoothly by composing comprehensive notes, ordering labs/medications, and closing charts after every encounter. Each provider that I have worked with has increased his or her patient load while still maintaining high-quality, patient-centered care.”

Related: Scribes slash EMR burden

Fully training a scribe takes time, according to Li. It helps if physicians sit down with their scribes to review charts at the end of clinic.

“By providing specific, constructive criticism for each other, we work together in improving our workflow. I like to think of the scribe-physician relationship as a unique one-on-one collaboration that is committed to delivering efficient patient care,” she said.

Li recommends that urologists looking for a scribe hire someone who is proactive and works well under pressure.

“There is a massive learning curve, but a scribe must be self-motivated. They should be asking questions and be willing to learn. Additionally, given the personal nature of urological topics, I also recommend a scribe who is mature, professional, and sensitive to others,” Li said.

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