Scribes, Electronic Health Records, and the Expectation of Confidentiality

 

Paul M. Wangenheim, The Journal of Clinical Ethics 29, no. 3 (Fall 2018): 240-3.

Electronic health record (EHRs) have largely replaced obsolete paper medical charts. This replacement has produced an increased demand on physicians’ time and has compromised efficiency. In an attempt to overcome this perceived obstacle to productivity, physicians turned to medical scribes to perform the work required by EHRs. In doing so, they have introduced an uninvited participant in the physician-patient relationship and compromised patients’ confidentiality. Scribes may be a successful work around for physicians frustrated by EHRs, but patients’ confidentiality should not be sacrificed in the process.

 

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