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Improving your practice with scribes, clinical staff

By Shannon Geis
February 21, 2017
Body of Knowledge Domain(s): Patient-Centered Care

Incorporating nonphysician providers, scribes and other clinical staff can improve your practice’s productivity and patient care if you do it right, according to Kyle D. Matthews, CMPE, MGMA Board member, chief executive officer, Phoenix Heart, Glendale, Ariz.

Matthews led a session on the topic at the MGMA 2016 Annual Conference and sat down with us to discuss it on MGMA Small Talk. In particular, Matthews talks about the benefits of scribes. For his practice, employing a scribe meant that one of his cardiologists added four spots to his schedule a day. 

If you plan on hiring scribes, Matthews recommends cross training them as medical assistants to make sure you are getting the most out of the employee. Matthews had MA scribes at a previous practice. “So if they weren’t running the physician, they were doing a refill desktop or answering phones or doing something else to keep us caught up,” explains Matthews. “So they would still get 40 hours a week and were always doing something.”

It also makes the work more interesting for the employee, says Matthews. “You don’t want somebody getting burnt out on one particular job function,” he says. “So anytime I can cross-train and move employees around, I do.”

Just don’t get too attached to your scribes, Matthews cautions, because the role is typically used as a stepping stone for someone interested in becoming a physician assistant or nurse practitioner. “It allows them to learn a lot and I think it’s very fulfilling for them,” he says.

Listen to our full conversation and to hear more about incorporating clinical staff into your practice in this episode of our podcast, MGMA Small Talk.

You can check out Kyle’s MGMA16 session, "Improving Medical Practices with APPs, Scribes and Medical Students," available now on demand. And look for the March issue of MGMA Connection magazine for more on this subject.   

Visit our Podcasts page to hear more episodes of MGMA Small Talk, or subscribe on iTunes, Google Play or SoundCloud so that you’ll never miss an episode. 

Shannon Geis, Staff writer/editor, MGMA

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