Category Archives: Research

Scribes Help Doctors Focus on Patients, Not Computers

Medical Scribes have proven to be a vital part in the clinical documentation role. Scribes have become increasingly popular in the fast paced emergency rooms where it is critical to move patients through quickly. Check out this article on – “Scribes Help Doctors Focus on Patients, Not Computers”


It Doesn’t Take a Harvard MBA to See The Value Of Today’s Medical Scribes

In a recent article by Patricia Kirk, published on Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 by the enews/management briefing service Dark Daily, the article makes reference to a claim made by EHR vendors who “contend that the need for medical scribes is temporary because eventually EHR use will evolve in ways that will make scribes obsolete.”

I hope not for a number of reasons.

First off, with a well-documented shortage of well-trained physicians I cannot imagine a scenario where we as a country would want to burden our scarce resource of physicians with the responsibility of doing data entry.  As I have said before this would be analogous to having the CEO of Macy’s operate a cash register or having Tom Brady work the concession stand at half-time.  Unless I was doing some type of wacky marketing thing, if I owned stock in Macy’s (which I do not) or the owner of the New England Patriots (which I am not) I would certainly want to make sure I was getting the most value from my investment and having doctors doing data entry is clearly not the solution. I bet getting the most value from an investment is taught on a regular basis at Harvard!

Secondly, and this one might get a chuckle from many readers, if Obamacare truly increases the number of people with health insurance (40M more people) and those newly enrolled seek additional healthcare services what physician is going to have time to provide these additional services and do the increased level of administrative tasks associated here? This is simply a question of supply and demand…another topic I am sure is taught at Harvard.

And finally, one of the biggest reasons it doesn’t take an MBA from Harvard to see the value of today’s medical scribes is simply this…you do not lower the cost of healthcare by replacing a $12 – $20 per hour resource (a medical scribe or a medical transcriptionist) with a $200 – $500 per hour resource (the physician).  That’s madness and begs the question, why aren’t more hospital CEOs, CFOs, CIOs and physicians themselves seeing this?

To effectively lower the cost of healthcare we need to have the right people, with the right tools (technology), in the right roles, doing the most cost effective work possible.  This includes Healthcare Documentation Specialists of all types, including Medical Scribes and Medical Transcriptionists.  This is why it doesn’t take a Harvard MBA to see the value of today’s medical scribes!

Read more: Medical Scribes Move Outside the ER to Help Clinicians in Other Healthcare Settings Make the Switch From Paper Charts to EHRs

Windows XP End of Life and HITECH/HIPAA Compliance

Windows XP was released August 24, 2001 (yeah a long, long time ago) and has been widely adopted by both home users and corporate users alike. On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will discontinue support and not release any security patches for Windows XP, which will effectively make it non-compliant with HIPAA / HITECH. After April 8, 2014, users running Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 3  or earlier will become vulnerable to attacks as hackers work to reverse engineer the last security patches. This includes both security and “non-security” hot fixes, free or paid support options and online technical content updates.

I am sure there are a lot of users in our industry who still run the old trusted and familiar OS but the time for its replacement is now. The biggest issue will be the vendor support of the various transcription applications and their ability to work with the newer versions of Windows. The majority should now will work with Windows 7 but as most of you know by now Windows 8 is the current version of Windows available. (I wrote about this some time ago so feel free to read that post as well). Application vendors should be hard at work updating their applications to work properly with newer versions of Windows and the included web browsers.

The upgrade process is typically painless and Windows will update itself with the new version when you purchase the upgrade version of the OS.  It  will update itself and keep your applications and data intact. Of course this could be a great excuse to finally get that fast new PC you have been wanting for a while too!

I would recommend any Windows XP users out there start looking to upgrade now and get with the appropriate application vendors or your company IT departments to inquire about the availability of application updates that will work with the new Windows (7 or 8) and get ahead of the curve before it happens. IT departments will be busy in the coming months getting this issue addressed within their organizations to maintain compliance. So the sooner you are ready for this coming change the better.


Windows 8 in the Transcription Industry. Tips and Information

As it goes with technology, Microsoft and others continually update their operating systems to add new features and security.  From time to time they change the whole user interface (UI) to a new look and feel but typically the changes are minor. This is not the case with Windows 8. Microsoft has totally revamped the UI with this build to get in line with their tablets and phones.  In the transcription environment the “Modern interface” (previously called “Metro” ) is not optimal for getting work done nor are the transcription applications  available in the Modern versions. Luckily  Microsoft kept the old Desktop functionality but made it an application (app) . Once you open the Desktop app, you will find yourself in the old familiar screen where you used to ‘live’. While this mode is almost the exact same as Windows 7, there are a few differences.

The missing Start Menu is the most notable change you will notice. Now if you hover your mouse in the lower left corner you will have an option to go back to the start screen  (Modern view), where you can simply start typing the name of whatever app or document you need and Windows search will find it for you. Secondly, some older applications especially transcription applications may refuse to install or run citing an “invalid or wrong version of Windows”. A lot of the time you can simply right click the application, select  properties, then the compatibility tab. From there you have an option to run the application in compatibility mode. When this option is checked you will see in the dropdown options from Windows 95 to Windows 7.  I would recommend using the most current version  you can and work backwards.  Doing this will most times allow the application to run in Windows 8 without issue. There are certainly times when this wont work and you have no choice but to get the most current version that is certified for Windows 8 from the vendor. Some vendors may not have a Windows 8 version as of yet and in that case you may have to use another PC with an older version of Windows until they do.

Lastly  while I would recommend users to learn the new ways to navigate each version of Windows in its native format, this time since its such a drastic change I have a few recommendations that may help. Since all the applications that are used for medical transcription will be running in the desktop anyway, there are 3rd party options to put the start menu back!  Most of these will allow you to boot directly to the desktop and skip the Modern start screen altogether. They also add back your programs to the menu so you can access them like you are used to. There are a few different versions but the most popular I have run across are Start Menu 8 and Classic Shell. Both are easy to install and configure.

So while Windows 8 is becoming more and more popular and about all you can get when you purchase a new pc, all is not 100% lost. I hope this information helps you remain productive and less frustrated in the new Windows 8 world!