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Pairing Primary Care Physicians with Remote Scribe Can Result in 27% Lower Burnout Rate


With internists and family physicians consistently reporting higher rates of burnout than the national average for all specialties, a study shows that pairing primary care physicians with a remote scribe can result in “significant improvements in physician wellness.”


Before being assigned a scribe, 70.3% of physicians in the study reported burnout based on the Mini-Z single-item burnout measure. That number dropped to 51.4% after using a scribe—a 26.8% decrease. For physicians who didn’t receive a scribe, the share feeling burnout rose over the study period to 60.3%, up from 50%.


“The fact that that measure captured a reduction in burnout is telling. ... It is basically a self-described perception that they are feeling better,” said the study’s corresponding author, internist Mark A. Micek, MD. He is associate clinical professor in the medicine department at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.


Physicians with scribes were more likely to report that they were in a joyful workplace and in a supportive work environment. They also had a good work pace and had less EHR stress compared with colleagues who weren’t assigned scribes, according to the study, which was published in the journal Healthcare and supported by an AMA Practice Transformation EHR Use Research grant.


“Scribes improve the way that people feel the flow of their work is going. It is relieving work from them, so I think it is easy for them to translate that into the sense that their burnout relative to their work is going down,” Dr. Micek said.

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