Efficiency vs Time Distribution

My entire proposal is centered around the idea that scribing programs will allow free clinics to be more effective in their mission to provide quality patient care while also serving as many patients as possible. However, an important aspect which must be highlighted is the fact that scribing programs in no way make the clinical structure more streamline or effective. In reality, they redistribute time, allocating time to providers during patient visits while having scribes and administrative figures shoulder more of the work and ultimately the scribing error safeguards that go along with it.

Scribing programs often operate around the concept that by redistributing the work more evenly, everyone will have a lighter load. However, this is not the case.  As I have discussed before in previous blog posts, scribing programs are not simply a process of sending in tag-along medical school hopefuls with providers and hoping for the best. Additional checkpoints and ultimately additional work is created by scribing programs in order to ensure accuracy with charting and avoid potentially harmful mistakes. More administrative positions need to be created and some volunteers must accept the workload of checking over every single chart written by a scribe and hunting down the scribe if a mistake must be clarified.

However, this in no way undervalues the benefit of scribing programs. Yes, there will be more work and more volunteer positions to be filled, but if you are planning to take on a large team of scribes, 1-2 administrative positions are extremely manageable. In addition, the creation of a scribing program is in itself a symbol of clinical expansion. Clinics take on scribes because they have a population of need to serve and feel as though they can handle taking on more patients. It is only reasonable to expand the staff if the clinic itself is prepared to increase its workload. In addition, scribing provides relief where it is most needed- in the examination room. Because although others may have to shoulder more responsibility, scribing is an effective method of improving patient care while also allowing providers to see more patients. And this push to see more patients is completely in agreement with free clinic philosophy because the purpose is not to increase profit but to best serve the local population in need.