If you’ve ever had to switch doctors or go to the hospital for emergency reasons, you probably would have known about your new doctor requesting your patient history.
This is a file of information that helps then figure out what your medical history is and how to treat you better in light of that – but have you ever wondered about who puts it all together?
It might come as a surprise to you, but it’s not your general physician or the doctor. This is what a medical scribe does, and it’s a whole job.
Traditionally, medical scribes are part of the clinic and every doctor hires one of their own. On the other hand, this has proven to be expensive and impractical for a lot of people.
With the recent increase in popularity of online work, coupled with how telehealth and virtual consultation had become quite the thing, it’s no surprise that virtual scribes are gaining popularity and becoming the cheaper (and mostly better) alternative.
But what exactly are the benefits? And are there any factors that you need to keep in mind before you swap your on-site scribe for a virtual one? Let’s discuss.
When you hire a remote medical scribe, more often than not they will already know how things work. These are usually people who have already worked with bigger hospitals or agencies and have at least some real-life experience in the field.
A lot of doctors feel like this makes it easier for them since now they don’t need to train the scribe, even if they still need to get the new scribe up to date on how they run things and their particular style of consultation.
All in all, virtual medical scribes are easier to train and on board, which makes them the easier choice for a lot of doctors who would rather focus on their patience than training clerical staff.
Sometimes doctors need to travel for their patients, and not every doctor is located in an urban area where employees are easy to come by.
For more rural settings and remote areas, or even a virtual setup where the doctor is unable to consult with patients physically unless necessary, virtual scribes just make sense.
They will be able to take notes of the meeting and consultation and ensure everything is recorded without actually having to be there, which is a huge cost saver.
Functional Creep is Reduced
Most tasks in the clinic are only meant to be done by the right people, but this can sometimes not be the case when a doctor is used to working with a medical scribe they can count on.
The scribe might find themself more and more responsible for tasks around the office that are outside their job description, and sometimes even ones they shouldn’t be doing at all!
This is called “functional creep”, and the risk of this is greatly reduced with virtual scribes.
When your scribes are only doing what they’re supposed to, you’re not opening yourself up to malpractice lawsuits and all sorts of legal trouble and medical mistakes.
Medical scribes might understand how most things work, but they’re not qualified to do it themselves.
Increased Patient Comfort
It’s hard enough to talk to a doctor about your health, but it’s even harder when you’re aware of someone listening in on the conversation and writing it down.
With virtual scribes, you eliminate the need for a third set of ears to be present inside the room with you and your patient, which in turn helps the patient open up more and discuss their health concerns with you with more ease.
When communication with your patient is better, you will be able to figure out the best type of care for them more easily.
More Patient Satisfaction
When patients feel more comfortable and are given treatments that work, they will be more satisfied with your performance. This, of course, is good for business and will help you with patient retention.
Not changing doctors for too long will also help your patients receive care from someone who fully understands their history and someone who has built a rapport with them that always helps smooth things over.
Problems You Might Face
Of course, all is not rainbows and sunshine when it comes to virtual medical scribes. This is why this section will focus on helping you figure out if they’re really for you, and to see if hiring one is really for you.
● Inexperienced Candidates: The virtual scribes field is an attractive choice for a lot of medical students and people who want to get their foot in the door of the medical industry. This can mean a lot of inexperienced hands trying their shot at recording patient information for you, and it might mean more training than you wanted to handle while hiring a medical scribe.
● No Standardized Training: Medical scribes are, for the most part, left on their own to figure out how to best do their jobs. While people for these roles are in high demand, there hasn’t been much progress in the way these professionals are trained. Your best bet is to hire through an agency that is known to have some kind of training in place for their staff and virtual medical scribes, but even in that case there are no set rules and regulations to be followed, and the contents of that training are up to the agencies themselves.
● Security Concerns: Of course, one of the biggest concerns with hiring a medical scribe would be the fact that you will be trusting someone in a remote location with confidential patient information – with data security being a very high concern for virtually any healthcare facility, this might open you up to a significant risk that is somewhat mitigated in case of an on-site scribe who works with you full-time.
I am Kate, a dedicated health advocate. My purpose is to educate you regarding the most current wellness trends, offer science-backed insights to enhance your understanding, and present actionable tips to support you on your journey towards a healthier and happier life. Let us commence this wellness path together!