What Are Medical Scribes?

What are Medical Scribes? 

The job of “medical scribe” (also called medical documentation specialist or clinical information manager) developed out of the focus on EMR/EHR implementation in medical practices. Medical scribes typically work in one of two ways: they either shadow doctors and record notes on a patient’s chart from within the exam room, or they are remoted in to exam rooms through videoconferencing or audio/video connections to record notes on a patient’s chart in from a different location.

The trend of using medical scribes developed out of the government’s push for EHR adoption. Physicians, unhappy with the new burden of typing their own notes into an EMR and the errors in voice recognition systems, started using medical scribes as an alternative to charting themselves. Typically medical scribes will follow one physician for an entire shift, and are responsible for creating and maintaining a patient’s medical record. Including documenting a physician’s interaction with a patient and including any lab results or other tests. Some refer to medical scribes as physicians’ assistants, because depending on their level of medical education and responsibilities they are given, they can also provide input that will direct a patient’s care.

The Cost of Medical Scribes

Medical Scribes

Medical scribes make between $55,000 and $75,000 a year depending on their years of experience and education level. This does not include any vacation, bonuses, health insurance or other costs associated with hiring an employee, which typically adds about 30% more to an employee’s overall cost to their employer. This is essentially the same as having an in-house transcriptionist, only more because they cost about 30% more on average.

Education for a medical scribe varies greatly as there is no formal training or certification program that is universally accepted. Many medical scribes are either former transcriptionists that transitioned into this new role, or pre-med students who take the position for some “on-the-job training.”

So what happened to transcription?

Before EHR implementation, most doctors dictated their notes and had someone transcribe them, either from within their office or by using a medical transcription service. Today, many physicians and practices assume they can’t use an outside service as their EHR transcription company that can work directly inside their systems, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Many transcription companies, including Ditto Transcripts, LLC, can build an interface that “pushes” the transcribed note into the EHR EMR system, putting the data into the correct discrete reportable data fields and fulfilling Meaningful Use requirements. Not only does this satisfy the Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement requirements, it also saves practices money.

Most transcription companies charge by line, so you only pay for the work that the company returns to you, not an hourly or salary rate as with a medical scribe or an in-house medical transcriptionist. You can now hire a remote medical scribe to do your documentation as well. They have turn-around times between 2 and 24 hours so your providers won’t miss a deadline, and billing can be done the same day as usual.

Ditto Transcripts is a Denver, Colorado-based medical transcription company that provides fast, accurate and reliable transcription services for hospitals, clinics, facilities and individual practices of all sizes. Call 720-287-3710 today for a free quote, and ask about our free five-day trial. Visit our website for more information about our medical transcription services.

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