Should your practice hire medical scribes?

Should your practice hire medical scribes?

As advances in technology make electronic health records essential tools for every practice, new challenges emerge in the medical workplace. With EHRs, one of the biggest obstacles physicians face is figuring out how much time to spend on the Internet programs and how much time to invest in face-to-face patient interactions. Many institutions have turned to hiring medical scribes to help them balance these responsibilities. If you are wondering whether you should do the same, check out this helpful information. 

What is a medical scribe? 
Medical scribes are people who have been trained in EHRs and medical terminology. They work alongside doctors as their assistants, entering information into these digital filing systems. Since they have taken courses on EHRs, they can quickly and efficiently navigate the programs to make sure data is safely and thoroughly entered. The source noted that typically scribes are hired on an hourly basis and are often medical students looking to gain experience working in a medical setting. 

What are the benefits of hiring scribes? 
Scribes are often a positive factor in increasing office workflow and productivity, explained For the Record magazine. Since scribes are taught to think administratively as opposed to clinically, they are often influential in practice organization and performance. The source explained that they usually help speed up the patient visit process by getting people in and out the door quickly and efficiently. Because of this, physicians using scribes are often able to see more patients per day than those without these workers, noted the source. 

Additionally, when doctors do not have to worry about inputting information to EHRs, they have more time and energy to spend on patient interactions. This is important for forging patient-doctor connections which make people feel comfortable in their health care choice. If you need to spend the majority of appointments with your face in a computer trying to figure out EHRs, you may benefit from taking on a scribe. 

What are some of the disadvantages to adding this position to your practice? 
The most notable downside to hiring a scribe is the cost, explained Physicians Practice. Since medical scribes go through specific training, the positions often have competitive salaries. For the Record explained that scribes typically make between $14 and $20 per hour to start. Eventually, manager-level scribes usually expect to earn anywhere from $42,000 to $96,000 per year depending on their employer. Despite the cost of hiring scribes, however, it is important to remember that they allow for doctors to see more patients, which can significantly increase practice revenue.