UPDATED June 2023
The world of medicine is changing quickly, and providers and hospital systems need to keep up with these changes to be competitive in the current environment. As the industry changes, practices must invest in services to help them target some of the most significant pain points. This includes charting and administrative work. Providers must do everything possible to streamline their productivity, allowing them to spend more time with their patients. That is where medical scribes can be helpful. Is a medical scribe worth the investment? There are a few points to keep in mind.
What Do Medical Scribes Do?
Of course, every practice is different, so examining what medical scribes do closely is essential. Medical scribes are also called documentation assistants, and they take down all the information shared during a patient visit.
They will listen to the visit, follow the doctor’s directions, and record the information in the electronic medical record system. While doctors have documented their notes for a long time, this process has become very tedious, impacting doctors’ ability to spend time with their patients. A medical scribe can take this stress off their shoulders by placing all the information in the EHR system for them.
How Do Medical Scribes Help?
There are a lot of specialties out there, so the benefits that medical scribes bring to practices will vary from specialty to specialty; however, there are many expected benefits across all areas, with some of the most prominent examples include:
Medical Scribes Pay For Themselves
When examining whether medical scribes are worth the cost, it is critical to start with the numbers. Providers will indeed have to pay for a medical scribe, but a few essential points to remember include:
- Doctors can spend less time charting, allowing them to see more patients daily, driving up revenue.
- Charting will be more complete, reducing the number of claims rejected by insurance companies.
- Staff members can also benefit from scribes as they can reduce their time charting, allowing them to assist in other areas of the practice.
There are different pricing structures, but you should pay for a medical scribe by the hour. So, for example, If a physician is working a 40-hour work week and needs a scribe during those hours, the cost is $20.50 per hour, which would come to $3600 per month. So as you can see, hiring a virtual scribe is much cheaper than hiring in-house. When reviewing services, be sure to ask if they can also accommodate fewer hours. If you are curious about DataMatrix’s pricing, please feel free to reach out, and we will be happy to send you more information or set up a discovery call to see if we can help.
That said, there is a difference between a virtual scribe and an offline medical scribe service. Offline medical scribes should also be considered an hourly service. So, for example, for a 40-hour workweek, the cost would
be $16 per hour, which comes to $2800 per month per physician.
For these reasons, having a medical scribe at the practice should pay for itself quickly.
Medical Scribes Avoid Physician Burnout
Another reason why a medical scribe is worth the cost is that it can increase physician satisfaction. Doctors went to medical school to take care of patients. They did not go to medical school to sit in front of a computer all day. Unfortunately, many doctors spend more time in front of a computer than they do with their patients. Having a medical scribe allows the doctor to maximize the time spent with patients, which can make them happier. This can reduce physician burnout, allowing doctors to enjoy a longer career.
Medical Scribes Improve Patient Satisfaction
Medical scribes are also worth it because they can improve patient satisfaction. When practices have virtual medical scribes, doctors can focus all their attention on the patient. They do not have to worry about the doctor sitting behind a computer, where the patient wonders if the doctor is even paying attention. Face-to-face interaction is essential, as medicine is a people business. Doctors with medical scribes often get to know the patient better, can get the patient to open up more, and can improve patient satisfaction rates. This is better for everyone.
Medical Scribe Activities in a Small Practice vs Hospitals
We have worked with medical scribes in both single-physician practices and hospitals, and we can confidently say that the activities that medical scribes do differ quite significantly in these two settings. One key difference is the amount of patient interaction. In a single-physician practice, medical scribes often have more one-on-one time with patients if the scribe is in the office, taking down notes on their medical history and current symptoms. In contrast, medical scribes spend more time documenting the patient’s progress throughout their stay in a hospital setting via the administration and nurses. Another difference is the level of collaboration with other healthcare professionals. Medical scribes frequently communicate with their physician in a single-physician practice to ensure correct documentation. At the same time, they may work with several different physicians and other healthcare workers in a hospital setting. Finally, medical scribes in hospitals may also be responsible for coordinating care between different specialties, which is less common in a single physician practice. Medical scribes play a vital role in both settings, but their activities can vary greatly depending on the needs of the practice or hospital they are working in.
Hire A Scribe Company or A In-House Scribe?
Hiring a medical scribe can be a game-changer when staffing your medical practice. However, choosing between hiring a medical scribe from a scribe company and hiring an in-house employee can be daunting. In-house employees come with an increased cost that can be avoided with the more cost-effective option of working with a scribe company. With scribe companies, the responsibility of finding, training, and managing the medical scribe is taken care of, leaving your medical practice free to focus on what it does best. So if you’re looking to hire a medical scribe, consider the cost-effective and reliable option of partnering with a scribe company to ensure you have the best possible support for your practice.
Trust DataMatrix Medical for All of Your Medical Scribe Needs
Every medical practice needs to think about hiring medical scribes. Medical scribes are worth the cost because they increase revenue for the practice while increasing everyone’s satisfaction. If you are interested in hiring a medical scribe for your practice, we would be pleased to help you. We are DataMatrix Medical, offering some of the best medical scribe services in the industry. We can customize your services to meet your needs, so contact us today to learn more about our services!