Medical scribe helping with data collection.

Medical Scribes as a Tool for Clinical Research and Data Collection

The Modernization of healthcare has greatly amplified the need to leverage data across all healthcare organizations. Not a single click on a computer screen goes unrecorded as it is quickly stored to be part of the vast and complex healthcare ecosystem, later to be utilized as a potential decision that will impact a patient’s life. The numbers and fields of information are all around us; from the moment the sensor of the hospital entrance flickers to note an incoming patient, to the moment a patient checks in and registers their information, and right back to the moment they exit and revisit that very same sensor that checked them in. There are the more obvious points of data that can be found in our computer systems that provide great information, but it truly takes an expert in data analytics to think beyond systems and define areas of opportunities when gathering information.


Like an individual standing by a pool filled with thousands of different types of fish; it only becomes valuable if the individual knows how to actually fish. Similar is the conundrum that many healthcare organizations face. Organizations may be aware of the data that’s surrounding them, but do they truly understand how to capture the information? In a deeper approach, even if the data is captured, how do most healthcare organizations leverage the data at hand to make informed clinical and operational decisions?


If healthcare organizations are the ones standing by the pool of fish without any idea of how to extract the fish, then consider the medical scribe as the fishing pole. Medical scribes provide additional support for clinical research initiatives and augment the capabilities of evidence-based and data-centric hospital systems. When we look at the role that medical scribes play, it’s almost certain that they provide more than just documentation services, but rather, they provide precise documentation services. The accuracy of collecting and gathering information and ensuring it’s organized and sorted in a manner that allows for the data to be extracted and developed into useful sources of information is pivotal for any organization. After all, the decisions that are being made from a clinical or operational standpoint are only as good as the data is.


In addition to their support with data integrity, medical scribes also capture more information during the patient encounter. Considering their focus is solely on capturing the conversations and key elements behind the patient visit, this allows them to pull in accurate information much faster and more efficiently than any provider would. Scribes have the ability to capture additional contextual information from patient interactions, which traditionally may not have been as readily available in structured data fields, such as physician decision-making processes or patient family and social history. The detailed secondary form of information can be valuable for more comprehensive analytics. This undivided level of focus on documentation directly adds to an increased amount of data collection, which further allows for better collaboration with data sharing and data analysis.


When implementing scribe services to a healthcare organization, the value that they bring extends much further than recording the patient and provider interaction. In fact, the role has a large purpose in the world of healthcare data analysis. Scribes utilize data-driven findings to assist with predicting and finding resolutions to quickly diagnosis and treat patients. While healthcare organizations continue to leverage the numerous benefits of utilizing data to make informed clinical and operational decisions, many fail to truly capture and analyze data in the most efficient manner. Medical scribes act as secondary providers when collecting and analyzing data. Although their importance cannot be measured, the quality of data collection and resourcefulness when implementing processes and standards of care can be quite quantifiable.