The past decade has seen a steady rise in administrative and documentation requirements placed on doctors, taking valuable time away from their primary mission of providing excellent patient care. Electronic Health Records (EHR) have increased the administrative burden on doctors, leading to dramatic growth in the demand for medical scribes. Given that scribes can cost a lot and are hard to train, meeting the needs of a growing medical organization that requires a scribe for each doctor is a massive challenge. But as with everything else, technology is here to help. The demand for virtual medical scribing has dramatically increased since the advent of COVID-19 and the subsequent worker shortage all over the continental United States. This article will explore how using a virtual medical scribe can help you provide better patient care and alleviate some administrative burdens associated with your practice.
What is Virtual Medical Scribing?
Healthcare practitioners must develop and manage massive paperwork to keep tabs on patient progress and bill insurers. Inevitably, doctors would rather focus on helping patients rather than filling up paperwork. Hence, the need for medical scribes. The use of virtual scribes as a substitute for conventional medical scribes is gaining traction. Virtual scribes, unlike traditional scribes, do not physically accompany doctors to patient visits but instead listen in on phone calls or video conferences. This comes with a host of benefits compared to using an on-site medical scribe, including lower costs, more privacy for patients, and often better quality of service.
The extent of the role of a virtual medical scribe can vary a lot depending on the conditions agreed upon at the time of hiring. Scribes’ primary duty is to take notes. Still, they may also be asked to enter information into electronic health records, function as a liaison between patients and doctors, transcribe dictation from audio recording devices, and offer general support to doctors in their everyday work. Due to the shortage of doctors and the growing amount of paperwork each practitioner must do, many doctors are discovering the benefits of using virtual medical scribes to increase patient satisfaction and lighten the strain on their practice.
Benefits of Using a Virtual Medical Scribe
Virtual medical scribes allow physicians to provide better care to their patients with a reduced focus on mundane tasks like maintaining patient records. It also allows for better communication. Here are some of the primary benefits associated with using a virtual medical scribe:
- Cost: While a physical, on-site scribe can cost a fortune, virtual medical scribes are affordable even for small medical practices. Given the extremely high attrition rate industry-wide, spending a lot of resources on a physical scribe for your practice does not make sense.
- Privacy for patients: A physical scribe in the room can seem like a blatant invasion of privacy to patients. By utilizing the services of a virtual scribe, the increased perception of privacy can go a long way in improving communication between the physician and the patients.
- Training: Many physicians have confessed that their reluctance to outsource their note-taking and administrative duties is largely due to the stress of training and onboarding new scribes, which is a part of the hiring process. One of the many beneficial aspects of using virtual medical scribing services is that majority of the time, these scribes are employees of larger companies or scribe networks, which means they have a highly stable base upon which they may expand. As a result of their extensive work experience and training, note-taking, physician collaboration, and maintaining electronic health records (EHR) are just a few of the skill sets that virtual scribe bring to the table.
- Improved Patient Satisfaction: Medical Transcription Services is here to stay. Naturally, when doctors are free to focus on their job rather than being buried under massive amounts of paperwork, they can tend to the patients in a much better way, thereby increasing patient satisfaction ratings which is ultimately better for your practice.
- The flexibility of Service: Virtual medical scribing benefits from the flexibility of service, where you can even opt for an on-demand service that lets you substitute your physical scribe with a virtual one for a short time. In addition, you get to dictate the terms of the arrangement, which can prove to be excellent for your practice.
The unbelievable cost and operational efficiency undoubtedly make outsourcing these services an attractive option. Quality of work need not be a concern, given the kind of experience and training possessed by good virtual medical scribes. Outsourcing medical transcription and other administrative tasks using virtual scribes is a terrific deal for most medical practices. It ensures that the patients receive the best possible care while all the administrative tasks are being carried out smoothly.