With sports medicine rapidly gaining popularity in recent years, physiatrists are seen very busy.  There is no typical day in the life of a physiatrist and their days are filled with ever-changing scenarios. With all this, can you guess the biggest problem they face? It’s documentation. Though documentation is an essential component of a physiatry practice, most physiatrists find it difficult to document effectively while providing patient care. This generated the need for scribes. Scribes reduce the onerous burden of clinical documentation and ensure that patients receive comprehensive, appropriate, and high-quality health care services throughout their episode of care.

Need for scribes

Like every other medical practice out there, physical medicine and rehabilitation centers are also under increased pressure to maintain accurate, up-to-date records and comply with regulatory requirements while providing quality care. Furthermore, as per the Medscape Physiatrist Lifestyle, Happiness & Burnout Report 2021, 61% of physiatrists reported that excessive bureaucratic tasks have been the major contributor to physician burnout. Scribes appear to be a promising strategy to decrease physician burnout as they reduce the increasing EHR documentation burden. This helps the physiatrist to focus on patient care and spend time on the range of motion tests and hands-on care. No wonder scribes are being increasingly used in physiotherapy clinics and rehab centers.

How does a scribe help a physiatrist?

Being a hands-on physiatrist taking notes gets in the way of providing one-on-one patient care. The solution to this problem is – hiring a scribe. A scribe documents therapy procedures as performed by the physiatrist, including

  • Patient history and physical exam findings
  • Procedures and treatments performed by the physiatrist
  • Prepare a care of plan and progress notes to be sent to the referring physician
  • Home exercise programs and follow-up care as dictated by the physiatrist

The benefits of using a physical therapy scribe in your practice

Reduces documentation time and improves the quality of care

A scribe in a physiatrist practice can greatly help reduce the documentation time by 60%. Those who implemented the scribe program were also of the opinion that the quality of documentation went way up, way improved, and way better. Quality documentation promotes patient safety and quality of care.

Helps establish a better patient connection

During evaluations, the physiatrist is able to look at the patient, and not at the notes or computer, which helps establish a real connection. Most importantly, during hands-on treatment or teaching the patients exercises to be done at home they feel liberated as the scribes take over the documentation work.

No after-work life

With scribes taking care of the documentation, their days need not end writing detailed notes and also preparing for the next day’s patients. They can focus on treating the patients, without worrying about completing documentation between sessions or bringing that work home with them.  Their scribe will also plan ahead and prep charts for the next day’s patients.

Generates more money

Scribes allow the physiatrist to see more patients and earn more money. This additional income is more than enough to offset the cost of hiring the scribe. If a physiatrist sees an additional 3 patients per day in a 5-day (clinic) week, he or she can earn an extra $40,000 – $50,000 per year.


The demand for physical medicine and rehabilitation services has considerably increased due to the tremendous growth of sports medicine, making it difficult for rehab clinics to keep pace. As a physiatrist juggling a lot of moving parts and maintaining up-to-date records could be stressful. Why take the stress? Hire a scribe who will offload the EHR-related tasks that take the time and energy from you. Just focus on providing patient care – relieving pain and helping restore mobility and function.

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