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Should your NPP have a scribe?

It may not be a good idea to have your non-physician practitioners (NPPs) act as a scribe. But maybe, in certain circumstances, they should have a scribe.  

The experts to whom we spoke for this week's Part B News story about using NPPs as scribes agreed that it was a waste of resources because NPPs are generally paid more than scribes and, even if they were underemployed at the office, would have better things to do.

Cameron Cushman, vice president of sales and marketig for PhysAssist Scribes in Fort Worth, Texas, says he gets questions from physicians and practice managers who "want to know if they can cross-train some of their staff to perform the scribe role in addition to their 'day job.'" He also hears from hospitals that want to use their residents as scribes. "I would say that their use is certainly not standard, but some practices have had success with it," he says.

More likely candidates for the scribe job than NPPs would be medical assistants (MAs), says Cushman. "Oftentimes, practices can’t afford to hire both a scribe and a MA, so they hire a MA and train them on the basics of scribing," he says. 

One thing Cushman has seen work is NPPs working with a scribe. He says this is common in emergency departments. "Many times, NPPs are assigned to the 'fast track' area of an ED to handle low acuity patients -- those with lacerations, flu/cold symptoms, nausea, etc.," he says. "They see many patients and don’t necessarily need to spend lots of time with each patient. Because they see so many patients, their documentation requirements can be quite burdensome. We always say that scribes work best with those who do the most documentation, so many times matching a scribe with an NPP in the fast track of the ED can be the best way to maximize the value of the scribe. Plus, this allows physicians and others to be able to spend more time with the sickest patients or those who are in the need of the most care."

Blog Tags: compliance, NPP
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