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Jan 11, 2011 2:49 PM by Carina Corral

Doctors pre'scribed' a helping hand in Sierra Vista's E.R.

Do you ever feel like a doctor is not giving you his full attention because he is busy writing down what you say?

Doctors in the Emergency Room at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo are getting a helping hand to give you more personal care.

They are called scribes, a doctor's 'right hand,' if you will.

"We record the story of the interaction with the patient. If it's an injury, how they got hurt. If it's an illness, how long it has been going on. We stand there as the doctor does the physical exam so we can record the details of it, if anything is normal or abnormal. We record the vital signs off the chart," said Scribe Melissa Thiede.

They do not do any sort of medical care. Their work is primarily clerical. The scribes allow doctors to give patients their full attention, instead of being distracted by record taking.

"I don't have to look up and down and take notes, I can sit there and talk to the patient eye to eye and communicate with them on that more personal basis, knowing that the scribe is listening and taking down the pertinent information," said ER Physician Steve Benaron.

The scribes also do the so-called busy work of inputting information and gathering lab results, freeing up the doctor to make necessary follow up calls and decide on the right course of action.

Sierra Vista scribes are well-trained, pre-med students at Cal Poly and said the experience is invaluable.

As for the patient, Dr. Benaron said most are very receptive to the scribes. "Sometimes the patient does feel uncomfortable, there might be personal things, and the scribe understands that and they just excuse themselves."

The national scribe program was created in 1995. It is increasing in popularity and has been credited for reducing wait times in ERs across the nation.

The program has been in place at Sierra Vista for about three years, providing a helping hand so doctors can give you the right dose of bedside manners.


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