AGOURA HILLS, Calif. - Doctors are seeing about 18 to 25 patients a day -- meaning longer hours in the office as they fill out paperwork once they finish a patient visit.
Dr. Victor Reyes has been a family medicine doctor for over 30 years. He’s one of the many doctors who take extra time to fill out his notes properly.
“I always want to make sure that my patients and my peers feel that I am doing a good job and I want to myself feel like I am doing a good job,” Dr. Reyes said.
But like many doctors, the workload and his work ethic slowly caused him to feel burned out over the years.
“The burnout has to do with not feeling appreciated, of having time to spend time with paperwork, rather than actually seeing patients,” Dr. Reyes said.
That’s where Abigail Jacobs, a medical scribe with ScribeAmerica comes in. For the last eight months, Jacobs has stood in the corner of exam rooms, quietly taking notes on the visit and the doctor’s recommendation.
After each visit, Dr. Reyes proofreads the notes for accuracy before adding them to the patient’s electronic medical record. It might seem like a small task, but it’s giving Dr. Reyes more time to treat his patients and less time behind a computer screen.
One study found that the process leads to higher chart accuracy and fewer doctors feeling burned out. But it’s also helping Jacobs gain experience inside a real doctor’s office. She plans on becoming a doctor herself.
“I learned so much working here and thankfully, Dr. Reyes is more than happy to explain everything to me and if I have any questions he takes the time to explain the cause of the disease, the treatment or anything that is going on,” Jacobs said.
After each patient visit, Jacobs and Dr. Reyes head back to his office to go over the notes for accuracy. A faster process than if he were to do it on his own.
“I think having a scribe makes me a better doctor, I think it makes me a happier doctor, I go home earlier and I honestly feel my charting is better,” Dr. Reyes said.
Jacobs says she sees the difference her role brings to the office and the impact she’s making on Dr. Reyes’ work life balance.
“He does work really hard. He’s here from six in the morning until six p.m. he doesn’t leave, he doesn’t take a break. So, it feels nice to alleviate some of the charting burden for him,” Jacobs said.
With the extra pair of hands, Dr. Reyes looks forward to doing what he does best, treating his patients without feeling burned out.