The healthcare sector has been repeatedly disrupted over the last several decades, more often than not due to external forces including more governmental requirements such as HIPAA and meaningful use, complex requirements from health insurers, astounding changes in technology including the implementation of EHR/EMRs. Many of these changes have not been favorable to healthcare providers. They find themselves spending far more time performing mundane tasks of paperwork and clinical documentation, less face-to-face time with patients, and more time spent away from family and other personal pursuits. Practices saw their most valuable assets – physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants – spending time doing data entry, tethered to their computers, yet ending up with very little actionable information.
Mark D. Boyce, President and CEO, recognized that the current state was not sustainable. Scribe Technology Solutions was formed to mold the latest technology and services to fit and simplify clinical documentation. These technology-enabled services employ leading edge concepts including artificial intelligence and robotics, next generation speech recognition, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to ensure best of class, lowest cost and highly scalable infrastructure and service delivery methods. “All those things you’ve been forcing people to do through data entry, all these disparate systems don’t work together. Our technology lets providers speak what happens in a patient encounter and then our technology will do the heavy lifting, do the analysis, do the transfer of the information, do the actual creation of the info, do the parsing of the info, so it’s more meaningful, valuable and then transfer that info where it needs to go. You can do things differently than in the past. That’s the disruption,” says Boyce. Scribe’s clinical documentation solutions are easy to use because they are based on the way providers recorded patient encounters in the past – simply recording their observations and findings. What is innovative and progressive, and therefore perceived as disruptive, is how Scribe takes that recording and uses NLP to input the information directly into the EMR/EHR. This saves the provider hours at the keyboard. Tom Luther, Scribe’s COO says, “We’re not asking for providers to do anything that they didn’t do 20 years ago, rather we provide them tools within a cloud-based platform, in affect allowing them to revert back to using “old school” workflows that most are familiar and comfortable using. By recording their instructions and patient visits, Scribe consolidates the data and takes care of returning it directly into their EMR systems as discrete data. The provider becomes more efficient and effective in seeing their patients by allowing them to spend more time with patients, see more patients, spend more time with their families, or a combination thereof.”
With new regulations and requirements being layered onto the healthcare workload, providers are sometimes wary of yet another “solution” or “disruption.” Scribe takes a unique approach with healthcare practitioners. By talking about their goals, what they perceive as barriers to the goals, and learning about the practice workflows, Scribe can develop a tailored system that is right for a provider’s work style. Luther adds, “EMRs/EHRs were developed as a black box that was developed for one thing — to store medical documents regarding a patient encounter in a computer, replacing the need for a paper medical record; that was the original intent. But then providers were told they were to be responsible for reporting more quality measures through governmental mandates such as Meaningful Use in order to be appropriately reimbursed for the services provided and the documentation burden became overwhelming and much more time consuming than maintaining a paper record. But there are others ways of capturing these measures, and Scribe’s platform will manage the information appropriately for providers so they have all the information they need for the government, payers, and regulatory agencies. We show providers how we can make their life better – not disruptive, rather productive and in a more progressive manner. When providers experience our tools in action during a risk free pilot period, they see our tools as progressive, and it reflects the way they used to document patient encounters in the past, and disrupts more current dysfunctional methods.”
The results of using Scribe’s tools are immediately clear to the providers. They can have more quality time with their patients and don’t have to spend as much time at the computers doing mundane tasks. Sometimes IT departments or practice administrators aren’t excited about another new system until they learn that Scribe’s implementation is easy and they see how the revenue improves, providers are benefiting, often adding to their daily patient visits.
Another important outcome of using Scribe’s solutions is the meaningful, useful data that can be extracted from the records. Boyce says, “We’ve always tried to develop technology to understand what humans want to have happen. Speech recognition technologies were first, NLP came next, and now we have technology that lets those pieces work together so that at the other end you have lots of discrete pieces of information that are more meaningful and useful. Once you have those meaningful pieces that enhance data, you can apply a final piece of technology to get it where it needs to go, including the use of automation tool such as robotics. There’s another important feature – Scribe’s tools provide analytic feedback. In the past, the ability to analyze data has required a statistical background. Now, if you can categorize information in a medical practice, and break pieces of text into meaningful data and enhance that, you’ve gained the ability to automatically apply standard common analytical techniques to provide meaningful summaries of information to people. We can automatically summarize that information, give it back to the provider, and instead of taking time, they can have better dashboards in order to have more intelligence, ask better questions and give better care to patients.”
A practical application of this might be seen with a physician who sees many patients with Type 2 Diabetes. The doctor could pull records to determine how many are on specific medications, how often they’re seen compared to patients on other medications, and how effective the treatment might be. Or, using Scribe’s technology, the doctor can create a dashboard that will quickly input this information to a report without the labor required to review every record. Dashboards can be created easily for any analytics a provider might need.
So one might ask the question “Does going back to the old-school dictation make Scribe a disrupter?” Luther believes “Companies like ours look to develop new solutions and provide progressive services to improve the healthcare industry and that’s why we’re sometimes perceived to be disruptive. Are we disruptive? Maybe – depending on who you ask. We see ourselves as pioneers, assisting medical practices and healthcare institutions with finding ways to simplify the many demands put on them by collecting and making sense of the patient data. We are giving providers their life back by simplifying how to collect data on their patients and then making the data useful for the payers and patients themselves. In essence, Scribe provides healthcare providers the tools to collect data on a patient in a very non-invasive way, allowing providers to focus and maximize their face-to-face time with their patients. This allows them to practice medicine at the top of their professional license(s) which hopefully results in better outcomes for their patients.”
Boyce added, “Just like other organizations and people have disrupted tech industries – million dollar widgets that 5 yrs later you can get anywhere for $150 – that’s what I look at in terms of what we’re doing. Companies are selling million dollar clinical documentation systems and all the services related to them, and there needs to be something that disrupts those costly, highly inefficient models with technology at a much lower cost price point, that takes cost out of system and streamlines the process. That’s what makes Scribe disruptive. Our solutions are progressive for those that use them.”
The good news is the adoption of Scribe’s platform is quick and easy, it is not mandatory for every provider within a practice to use it, and it accommodates any type of clinic workflow. Today, almost every provider carries a device like their iPhone with them non-stop, and now they can use it in a way that makes them more productive without learning anything new. Our platform is extremely flexible, it can accommodate a more seasoned provider who might be more comfortable using digital voice recorders or a younger provider who might be more comfortable with using the technologies like “Alexa” and “Siri” to gather patient information.
Bottom line, providers utilizing Scribe’s tools will increase their productivity, improve their revenue, and impact the quality of care because they are enabled to focus on what matters most – patient care. By using Scribe’s solutions and services, providers are situated to easily adapt to any new disruptions that may come their way through the government, insurers, and other external forces. And we all know that history repeats itself and unwanted “disruptions” are inevitable.
Scribe leadership believes that its business model is well-placed to continue to be innovative, progressive and even “disruptive.” Boyce concluded, “As an agile streamlined company we move quickly, change direction as needed, and we are not encumbered by corporate bureaucracy. We provide the resources and tools necessary to empower our employees to do what needs to be done as quickly and efficiently as possible. In addition, we pride ourselves on being a virtual company, our workforce is not located in one site, allowing us the opportunity to hire the brightest and best no matter where they are in the world.”