Your doctor's latest sidekick: A scribe

Dr. Marian Bednar, an emergency room physician in Dallas, left, with Amanda Nieto, 27, her scribe and constant shadow. Image Source: NY Times. 

Dr. Marian Bednar, an emergency room physician in Dallas, left, with Amanda Nieto, 27, her scribe and constant shadow.

Image Source: NY Times. 

Holmes had Watson. Batman had Robin. SpongeBob SquarePants had Patrick Starfish.

These are famous sidekicks. Now doctors have warmed to the idea.

At Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, ER physician Marian Bednar, MD, has a scribe assigned to her so she can pay attention — full attention — to her patients.

Dr. Bednar told the New York Times ("A Busy Doctor’s Right Hand, Ever Ready to Type," January 12, 2014):

"With a scribe, I can think medically instead of clerically."

In fact, there may be as many as 10,000 scribes working in hospitals and medical practices in the U.S., the Times reported.

In our age of technology, it's not the tech that is making a difference in health care — it's the human interaction. And the proliferation of scribes, albeit slowly, is bringing about the return of uninterrupted attention between doctor and patient.  

It shows that good ideas can be as old as, well, ancient Egypt!