Are Scribes Optometry’s Best Kept Secret?
Fewer than half of the respondents to a recent Women In Optometry Pop-up Poll said that they use scribes in their office. However, the 28 percent who do use scribes now say that it has made a difference in the way they practice. One OD wrote, “Because of scribes, I finish my charts the same day, I don’t have piles that I have to come in on the weekends for anymore.”
The ideal ratio is one scribe for each doctor, say 70 percent of those who use scribes. Another 18 percent say that two scribes for each doctor is ideal.
The majority of those who currently use scribes have been doing so for some time; 42 percent say they have used scribes for two-to-five years and 30 percent say they’ve been using scribes for more than five years. Another 15 percent of respondents say that their practice is planning to implement a scribe system.
Scribes are often hired from within; 47 percent are current employees who are trained to be scribed. Another 43 percent of respondents said that they both train from within and hire specifically for that role. Only 10 percent say that they specifically hire for this position.
Almost every scribe is expected to do EHR entry (97 percent). Other key roles expected of scribes are preparing follow-up communication with other provides (69 percent); pretesting patients (67 percent); and transitioning patients to the optical (64 percent). Less commonly, scribes are expected to set up the patient’s next appointment (40 percent); attend to presession details, such as insurance verification and appointment confirmations (19 percent); and optical dispensing (11 percent).
Seventy-one percent of the respondents to this poll said they were female ODs, and 25 percent said they were male ODs. The vast majority, 79 percent, work in a single-location optometric practice. Another 13 percent work in an optometry practice with two or more locations; 6 percent work in a large medical clinic or hospital and 3 percent work in a small to medium ophthalmology or multispecialty location.