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Growing Demand for Medical Scribes for Documentation and Coding

October 14, 2014

Doctors have started hiring medical scribes to sail through challenges related to documentation, shortage of coders, stringent reforms and lack of time. Scribes are helping doctors focus more on patient care rather than filling forms and handling computerized patient records. While scribes take care of computer coding and note-taking, physicians tend to patients.

Industry facts

A survey by ACCP-SI (American College of Chest Physicians - Sleep Institute) states that most doctors sleep few hours than needed for best performance
On an average, face-to-face clinic visit doesn’t last more than 16 minutes as physicians increase number of patients to make ends meet
70% physicians spend more than one day per week on paperwork rather than attending patients
Medical scribes are helping doctors strike a work-life balance by reducing their workload

Benefits of Hiring a Medical Scribe

The demand for medical scribes is increasing in the US as they share a physician’s burden to gather data and perform EHR documentation. This helps providers increase productivity and attend fully to the patient throughout and provide quality, cost-effective medical care. Scribes accompany physicians in the exam room and while the physicians interact with the patient, they record the history, treatment plan, examination and other clinical data in real time.

The documentation done by scribes is reviewed and corrected by the physicians at the end of the clinical session. Apart from typing a doctor’s dictation into the EHR, scribing also involves conversion of the patient-doctor interaction into a concise document and error-free coding before sending it to the coders / billers. Scribes are responsible for helping physicians keep a track of tests that are ordered. They also provide assistance to them in juggling between multiple patients, reminding them of treatment plans and ensuring that documentation requirements are met, prescriptions are refilled and test results are met.

Can Scribes Replace Certified Coders?

Medical scribes aren’t certified coders; however, they do receive approximately three weeks to three months of training. During this period they are taught about clinical terminology, common CPT codes for the specialty they work in, and compliance with HIPAA along with other patient privacy mandates.

Bright Future for Medical Scribes in the US Healthcare Industry

Healthcare practices have entered an era where it is impossible for doctors to handle everything. Majority of scribes continue working for urgent care centers and emergency departments in the US. But in the last two to three years, many specialties including gastroenterologists, ophthalmologists, dermatologists and OB / GYN have also started hiring scribes to ease their workload and enhance revenue.

Typically, a medical scribe can earn anywhere between $20 and $25 on an hourly basis. This job is mainly taken up by recent graduates or college students who want to establish a career in the medical industry. In order to get a good-paying job, they are required to spend approximately 100 hours in getting on-site training. They also have to devote sufficient time in learning the billing and coding procedure.

Practices that can’t hire a scribe but need to streamline their revenue cycle can outsource their revenue cycle management needs to billing companies like MedicalBillersandCoders.com.


Category : Practice Administration