Type of medical scribe: In-house vs virtual medical scribe. Which one is better?

How many types of medical scribe physicians use? Physicians use scribes to document patient-physician interaction, such as taking notes during exam time, entering data into patient databases, and copying dictated notes. In addition, obtaining records from other hospitals and scheduling appointments are some of the tasks. Scribes work to make physician-patient meetings more efficient so that the doctor can concentrate solely on their treatment rather than clerical duties. Now, we will discuss the types of medical scribes.

There are basically two types of medical scribes

  1. In-house medical scribe.
  2. Virtual medical scribe.

1. In-person or In-house medical scribe

Scribes in the medical office provide a necessary and valuable service to physicians, patients, and staff. The hiring of a medical scribe can improve productivity, improve teamwork, and relieve providers and staff of time-consuming administrative duties. Additionally, their assistance can result in an increase in patient load, more face-to-face time with those patients who most need it, and/or a better work-life balance to eliminate physician burnout. A medical scribe takes over the documentation of vital visits to patients, allowing physicians and staff to focus on other mission-critical tasks.

Disadvantages of using an In-house medical scribe

Many physicians we’ve talked to say that the expenses of a medical scribe don’t outweigh their hard costs. Physicians admit that they increase patient volumes to offset costs associated with scribes (Time and Money) as scribes require a minimum amount of oversight and training.

But, in reality, the process only creates a negative feedback loop. Having more patients means more note-taking, more hours for the scribe, and more editing and oversight required. An increase in patient load can shrink margins by a few hairs, but not enough to make up the difference. Burnout still occurs in large numbers, and costs continue to rise.

In addition, scribes may negatively impact clinical settings. Do you remember the last time you wrote an email while someone was reading over your shoulder? Have you ever washed dishes while someone was watching you? It may cause harm to the final product and can even be invasive.

It has been acknowledged by some physicians that scribes in the room with patients tend to negatively impact what they are comfortable disclosing, as well as being intrusive at times.

2. Virtual medical scribe 

Virtual scribes provide real-time administrative assistance without being physically present in the exam room. Virtual medical scribes are trained to prepare a medical document and they actually can type very fast. Just like the in-person scribe, the virtual scribe documents directly into the organization’s EMR using templates, smart phrases, etc., tailored to the individual provider’s needs. Virtual medical scribes are using HIPAA-compliant software, both in terms of security and compliance (the software only allows audio, no video) in the patient room.  A physician is connected to their virtual medical scribe in real-time through the tap of their finger. The scribes ensure that both the patient and the physician have a more enjoyable office visit.

Benefits of using virtual medical scribe

Physicians usually prefer virtual-house medical scribes instead of in-house medical scribes because of the following reasons;

  • Provider and patient can interact in real-time without being physically present in the exam room as well as not intruding on clinical office space
  • The cost of a virtual medical person scribe is half that of an in-person medical scribe.
  • Providers can get assistance from anywhere.
  • Detailed charting, communication management (letters, patient portal, staff messaging, etc.,) referral management, ordering, detailed data entry for immunization histories, allergies, etc., telephone encounters, looking up previous imaging results for the provider, as well as standard SOAP note documentation with the benefit of a more accurate, thorough encounter.

Now, you know very well about the type of medical scribes.

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