It’s a busy day at the State General Hospital. Physicians are struggling to finish their clerical workload amidst back-to-back appointments with various patients. But Dr. Jones and his friend, Dr. Tyson, seem to be unaffected. They are laid back on their chairs. Dr. Jones is reading a book. And Dr. Tyson is looking back at some of his throwback pictures on his phone, waiting for his next patient to check-in.
If you’re wondering how these two physicians are relaxed when everybody else is having a hard time, then it’s a 3-word answer you will have to understand, that is, “Remote Medical scribe.” It is convenient to decode the literal meaning of the term and simple to understand what a remote medical scribe does.
Decoding Remote Medical scribe
Let’s break it word by word then.
- Scribe – a person who is employed to write documents
- Medical – the type of documents a scribe is employed to write by a healthcare provider or a facility
- Remote – indicating that the scribe is actually not present on-site in the clinic but is working remotely from his office, which is a secured, HIPAA-compliant environment
It implies that the remote medical scribes are connected with the doctor in the clinic through teleconferencing apps like Zoom, VSee, Skype, etc. Hence, the name – Virtual Scribe!
How do Medical scribes work?
The medical scribe has credentials for entering the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) that the healthcare provider has been using. The remote scribe preps the medical chart ahead of time to complete as much pre-visit work as it can. As the provider is about to start his shift, he/she would log into the telemedicine application for 2-way communication with his scribe.
Let’s enter the clinical room where Dr. Jones is seeing his patient, presenting to the clinic with symptoms of cough. Just before entering the room, Dr. Jones communicates with his medical scribe about the patient he is going to see, reiterating its chief complaint. The scribe, by this time, knows the type of clinical visit it is going to be (Acute complaint/follow-up/medication refill/Annual Physical, etc.).
Dr. Jones then enquires about the symptoms, including the type of cough, duration, triggering factors, etc. The remote medical scribe pens down every response that a patient gives. Simultaneously, Dr. Jones verbalizes his Physical Exam (PE) findings as he notes some wheezes in the chest. The medical scribe puts the findings in the PE template given by the doctor.
Dr. Jones suspects the condition related to bacterial etiology and realizes he needs to order a chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia. So, he talks to the patient about the orders he would place for review and prescriptions he would write to help him combat the bacterial infection. The medical scribe listens to this doctor-patient interaction and writes the summary of the illness (known as HPI) and Assessment and Plan in a language that is easy to understand. Also, he orders the chest X-ray for the patient and fills in the script for the prescription as he heard the doctor speaking to the patient.
After interacting with the patient, when Dr. Jones looks at his computer screen, he finds all the orders and prescriptions are placed in the EMR, ready to be sent to the lab and pharmacy, respectively. To his amusement, he also finds the complete narrative of his treatment plan with a correct diagnosis. Voilà!
Now, all he needs to do is review the chart and sign it with a couple of clicks. And there it goes! Dr. Jones has his medical charting done before the patient leaves the room, without spending an extra minute off the allotted time for the visit.
How much the Physicians rely on Medical scribes?
Once a medical scribe gets used to the workflow and preferences of the physician, which is pretty quick, the doctor pretty much takes the backseat and verbalizes all the communication he needs to make with the scribe. All this is done without having to shift focus away from the patient. The medical scribe then puts all the prescriptions, lab orders, referrals into places as instructed by the doctor. Efficient! Isn’t it?
The medical chart is usually prepared within a couple of minutes after the visit ends, and sometimes even before the patient leaves the room. “Bravo” is the word you’re looking for.
The advantage of having a remote medical scribe remains in the fact how much time and effort of the doctor the scribe saves
Physicians rely on Medical scribe for pretty much everything to be done on the computer. So much so that it will not be wrong to call them Virtual Physician Assistant. It is that much work they put on while a 20-40 minute visit goes on. A medical scribe easily saves 5-12 minutes of a provider for every patient. Taking an average of 7 minutes and assuming that a doctor sees 15 patients a day, a medical scribe saves whopping 105 minutes (that’s close to 2 hours) in a single day. You can do the math of how much time remote scribing would save for you in a week, in a month, and then in a year.
The time saved in writing and typing directly transfigure into seeing more patients, resulting in increased incentive for the healthcare provider and boosted revenue for the facility. Also, a physician can never write the amount of detail a medical scribe can in the given timeframe. It is because that’s what medical scribes are trained to do, just as how doctors are trained to provide care.
ScribeEMR is a company based in Boston, MA, providing telemedicine, medical scribe, and virtual assistant services to healthcare providers across the country. ScribeEMR assigns one dedicated, expert remote scribe to solely work for a specific provider, delivering high-quality medical charts, matching their charting style. Our medical scribes are rigorously trained on 40+ EMR systems, covering every aspect of clinical documentation, including managing lab orders, diagnostics studies, prescriptions & referrals. ScribeEMR complies with all HIPAA rules.