There is no question that medical scribes help providers improve productivity, increase return on investment, reduce provider burn-out, and improve overall quality of their work-life balance. If you’re looking to take advantage of the benefits of working with medical scribes, you are probably wondering how to identify the best scenario for your organization and how to make that decision. There are a variety of options including partnering with a medical scribe service company or choosing to hire, train, and manage your own internal scribe program. The following are some considerations when determining which path is right for your organization.
Talk to your colleagues who work with medical scribe programs. Right now, as many as 40% of clinics and hospitals nationwide enjoy scribe programs. Gain insight into the best practices from peers and fellow physicians who have had experience hiring, training, and managing scribes or partnering with a medical scribe service provider. Perhaps some of them have even been scribes themselves at one point! You’ll get a good sense of which scribe service providers deploy quality programs.
Partner with a scribe service provider. Most scribe service providers will have teams and resources that can help you determine how scribes can best fit into your busy practice, department, or hospital. For example, at ScribeConnect, we offer various medical scribe solutions that work for over 90% of healthcare providers nationwide. Have you had difficulty contracting scribe service because of your location, practice size, or outsourced program cost? ScribeConnect offers an entire suite of services, software, and products to medical providers across America regardless of practice size or location.
Find the right candidates. If you are considering hiring internally, consider the following type of candidates for your program. Typically, college students transitioning into post graduate work in the medical field, nursing students, allied health professionals, and pre-Med, Pre-PA, and pre-NP students are fantastic candidates due to their high levels of motivation, education, and drive. If you operate in an area where there are not many qualified candidates, you may want to consider training some of your current staff to fill in as a medical scribe. We highly recommend NOT hiring anyone who is ‘just looking for a job’.
On-going scribe education. Having a scribe work with you can be an amazing transformation to your work day and perhaps even one of the best things you could ever do to augment and improve your medical practice. However, a scribe is only as good as their attitude, knowledge, and abilities. Be sure your scribe service provider (or your own scribe program) has a continuous improvement scribe training program in place. Your scribes need to stay up-to-date with ever changing regulations, EHR updates, payor requirements, and continuously be learning regardless of how long they have been scribing. And this really only happens with scribes who poses the right attitude and are provided the right resources.
The transition to EHRs has been a very bumpy road and has required providers to spend increasing amounts of time in front of a computer screen entering data. Whether a provider is looking to make more efficient use of their time, looking to ease the burden of documentation, or to improve the patient experience, the hiring and use of medical scribes have been shown to improve productivity, increase bottom line revenue, have a net positive ROI, decrease provider time spent dedicated to documentation, increase provider satisfaction, and improve the overall experience of patients.
And admit it: if you had the opportunity to be a scribe back when you were applying to medical school, there is a very high probability you would have liked to have gained that experience scribes are obtaining today. As a provider working with a medical scribe program, you are providing valuable experience to future doctors, PAs, NPs, and nurses who may one day work along side you as a colleague. Aside from all of the objective benefits discussed above, working with a scribe can be a very personally and professionally rewarding experience.
The cost to you or your practice of working with scribes can vary greatly depending on many factors. For example, medical scribes can be remote (typically lower cost) or in-person. You can hire directly (typically lower cost) or contract the service out.
It will come ultimately come down to two primary questions:
1) How much involvement are you (or your practice) willing to have in the scribe program?
A well run contracted scribe service program allows you to have as much or little input as you want in the program while not requiring you to be involved with the day-to-day operations and management. A quality full-service scribe program will have a positive impact on your financial growth, professional job satisfaction, and increased personal time. A full-service program will typically also be the most expensive medical scribe option.
On the other end, you could institute a medical scribe role directly into your practice. This costs less and does not necessarily have to be any less productive or lacking in quality if well executed. Traditionally, healthcare organizations wanting to implement their own internal medical scribe program had to ‘figure it out’ on their own which tended to leave gaps in training and management leading to decreased quality. There were very few resources to use in building a successful, quality, home-grown scribe program. ScribeConnect is really changing the entire medical scribe landscape throughout the country as we have released the industry’s first and only online Scribe Platform that enables healthcare organizations to hire, train, and retain medical scribes directly. As a provider, you now have access to the resources, curriculum, support, and quality to successfully implement a medical scribe program that traditionally was only found in commercial Scribe Service Provider companies. Utilizing the ScribeConnect Platform (SCP) drastically reduces the amount of time your organization needs to invest in developing a quality in-house medical scribe program.
2) How much are you willing to financially invest in the scribe program?
As mentioned earlier, an in-house scribe program will typically cost less than contracting with a third-party scribe service provider. If the investment in a third-party service provider is not in your budget, your only other option is to develop your own internal medical scribe position.
The cost of a full-service, third-party medical scribe program can vary widely throughout America due primarily to state wage requirements, but can also be affected by regional locale as well (proximity to urban populations, etc). Quality scribe companies will provide clear, simple, pricing that you can count on and they will not have additional fees tacked on for ‘implementation’, ‘management’, ‘training’, or other ambiguous reasons. For example, ScribeConnect bills a flat hourly rate for each hour of scribe service rendered. The company does not charge for holiday pay, scribe seniority differentials, implementation costs, scribe training, travel, lodging, taxes, management, administration, or other factors. This simple flat rate provides clients the ability to accurately project program costs with confidence. In general, scribe service providers bill anywhere from $23 per hour to $35 per hour and may bill additional fees or hourly charges. This range is reflective of the above factors and the variations in rates and practices between scribe companies.
For organizations looking to invest in an in-house scribe program, your hourly rate can be significantly lower. Entry-level scribes are typically paid at or just above minimum wage by most scribe companies. Consider the minimum wage in your area and what comparable positions are being paid (such as a medical assistant or technologist). Even after taxes and benefits are considered, you will be able to hire and pay a scribe more than a competing scribe company and still have an overall hourly rate that is significantly lower than a contracted scribe service.
For example, if a scribe company in your area is charging $28 per hour and the minimum wage in your area is $10 per hour, you would be able to pay your scribes $14 per hour and still be happily way under the $28 per hour even after payroll taxes and benefits. In addition, your pay of $14 per hour will be $4 per hour more competitive than the scribe company’s pay to their scribes which means you will have a better selection of candidates in your area. You will also most likely be able to retain your scribes longer with better competing pay, therefore reducing turnover.
When evaluating the possibilities of your own internal scribe program, consider ScribeConnect’s SaaS Platform. With the platform, you get access to scribe-specific hiring, training, certification, performance improvement, and management tools for a very low fixed cost that you can confidently budget in. You’ll be able to pay your scribes a better competitive wage, institute a quality scribe program, and still pay less than a full-service scribe service. Here is an ROI comparison to help you determine if our SaaS Scribe Platform is right for you.
Absolutely! Numerous studies from a wide range of academic publications have shown that effective use of medical scribes in a team care environment to improve:
-EHR Documentation Efficiency
Yes! Even for pre-med or PA/Nursing school candidates, there will be, at minimum, EHR data entry training. In addition, medical scribes will have to shadow other scribes on provider shifts to get up to speed on the processes and procedures unique to each physician, clinical practice, or hospital system. Specialists such as urologists, OB/GYN, cardiologist, etc., may have their specialized training for each specialty and sub specialty.
In addition, continuing scribe education and training are vital to a successful scribe program to keep each scribe up-to-date on the latest ICD codes, government regulations, and payor requirements.
The average salary for a medical scribe varies from region to region, and is heavily dependent on the Federal, State, and local minimum wage regulations, demand, the scribe’s level of education, and certification. The starting salary for an entry level scribe can be as low as $7.25 per hour. Senior scribes, scribe trainers, and scribe site managers can earn more as experience, seniority, and skills improve.
At ScribeConnect, our scribes start at a competitive $15 per hour, have access to a variety of employee benefits, and can engage in our continuing scribe education and certification process to improve their future career prospects in the medical field. Learn more about medical scribe wages and salary in 2022 and more ways to earn more as a scribe here on our blog.
Like answers to many questions, the truth is “it depends”. If you are looking for an entry level job that is easy, does not challenge you, does not require much education or training, has low expectations of you, doesn’t care if you show up to work on time (or even at all), and you expect to make a ton of money, being a medical scribe is NOT for you.
However, if you are an aspiring medical professional and are willing to put in the time and effort to get there, being a medical scribe may be the best experience you could ever obtain. As a medical scribe at ScribeConnect, we have very high expectations of our scribes. We expect you to show up to work on time – every time, we demand the highest level of training and education, we guarantee you’ll be challenged every day – all day, you will be tired at the end of your shifts, and you’ll gain invaluable experience that will establish a foundation for success in your future medical endeavors.
If you’re passionate about healthcare, aspire to work in the medical field or are progressing toward a medical degree, medical scribing is a fantastic way to gain experience, certification, and knowledge to get a leg up on your peers. You also get the opportunity to work closely with an experienced provider, learn key medical terms and have a close-up, first person perspective on best practices as a doctor. It can be tough to learn all the medical terms, you have to be able to type fast and think on your feet, but the rewards can help you tremendously toward your future career.
Most people are looking for a ‘good job’ that requires little and pays much. Working as a medical scribe, you need to expect the opposite. The truth is, being a medical scribe requires 100% of your effort and doesn’t pay much considering the level of motivation, education, and expertise that our scribes possess. Honestly, the vast majority of scribes nationwide could get a much better paying job in another field or position. Scribes are individuals who are highly motivated, educated, talented, and wait for no one to give them a free handout. Some of the best and brightest of this generation choose to be scribes because of the unparalleled experience it provides those aspiring to work as a medical professional. Those who become medical scribes will rise above the competition in medical school interviews. For those people, “YES”- being a medical scribe is a great job.
Here is an interview with one of our scribes. See more of our scribes’ experiences and watch their testimonials on our YouTube channel.
Absolutely! With increasing payor pressure on accurate electronic documentation and the associated burden it places on care providers, and as provider burnout continues to plague the healthcare industry overall, the need for medical scribes continue to rise. As of 2021, only about 40% of providers nationally are able to enjoy the benefits of having a medical scribe ease their documentation burden. The need and demand for medical scribes have only continued to increase over the past few years, and regions underserved by having a large pool of pre-med students are now in desperate need of help.
Provider burnout is real. We’ve spoken to providers who work with our scribes and each one of them attributes the improvement in their patient care and professional well-being to working with our scribes. There is still a large percentage of clinics and providers without documentation help from medical scribes. Our goal at ScribeConnect is to make medical scribe accessible to “Any Provider. Any Time. Any Where”.
Working in a healthcare setting can be stressful. The nation is experiencing an epidemic of provider burnout. As a medical scribe, you are alleviating a significant part of the burden of documentation from the provider who may be under a tremendous amount of stress.
The work of a medical scribe may seem difficult, with a tough learning curve. However, the work you do is extremely meaningful and provides all parties involved an improved experience. Scribes can be an important and integral part of any patient care interaction. And while it requires a calm presence and quick thinking, ScribeConnect provides ongoing training through the duration your time with us so you are prepared for whatever comes up. The difficulties of being a medical scribe are equally matched by the rewarding experiences you’ll encounter and take with you for the rest of your professional medical career.
Medical scribing is a fantastic entry level position for a career in medicine. Although a medical degree is not required (thank heavens!), a solid foundation of medical scribe training, education, and experience are necessary to become a successful medical scribe.
The follow skills and knowledge are paramount to becoming a successful medical scribe:
-The willingness to learn
-The unwavering, steadfast ability to persevere
-Being a self-starter (self-motivated)
-A positive attitude in all things
-A good understanding of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and medical coding
-Successful completion of a good entry-level medical scribe curriculum
-Regular and continued education and skills improvement
In addition to this, a medical scribe will become a ‘super-user’ of at least one Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. Scribes receive this training at the facility they are hired at and are not expected to learn a specific EHR prior to being hired.
There are no heavy lifting requirement although you may need to be able to comfortably hold a laptop or mobile device to enter notes in the EHR system.
You should also be able to type well (70 wpm or more with 95%+ accuracy).
Most importantly, for anyone entering the medical field, the most important “skill” may simply be a caring heart, drive to help those in need, and an intrinsic desire to always be improving.
Being a scribe is great for anyone looking to start or further a career in medicine. But for anyone applying for medical school, the experience gained as a medical scribe is invaluable. Medical school admission committees see medical scribe experience as the number one preferred job experience for preparing candidates for medical school. Think of it as a first hand insight into the mind of a fully trained and accredited doctor. A medical scribe is the only position in any clinical setting that works continuously, and in close proximity, with a doctor. Not only that, but you may get to work with multiple providers over the course of your scribe experience giving you insight into a range of bedside manners, clinical decision making processes, and more.
The vast majority of medical schools take scribing experience as a key part of your entry process, and the experience of scribing can also offer you a leg up on your fellow post-graduates.
Here is an interview with one of our scribes. See more of our scribes’ experiences and watch their testimonials on our YouTube channel.