Seemingly unimportant but turns out to be a critical aid for all physicians, that’s what a medical scribe is. An incredible position that is suitable for beginners in their medical career yet high on demand? Let’s find out more about medical scribes.
What is medical scribe
Traditionally, a physician’s job focuses on treating the patients, but nowadays when there is the Electronic Health Record (EHR), the administrative workload for them has increased tremendously. To help physicians, the role of a medical scribe comes in.
For anyone who is interested in the medical field or would aspire to become one, starting from being a medical scribe allows them maximum exposure with physicians and patients. A medical scribe is always present during a patient’s visit, but would also simultaneously manage various tasks during it, such as calling for consults or obtaining medical records from other medical care facilities.
Medical scribe’s duties
A medical scribe would do the following work:
- Document in real-time the patient’s assessment and tests records, this also includes the results, treatment plans, procedures and physicians’ consultation.
- Locate past medical histories, charts and results of the patient.
- Transcribe ancillary test results and the interpretations.
- Follow up on the labs’ progress and patients data to prepare them for physicians before or during consultations.
Medical scribe work environment
Normally, a medical scribe would work in health care facilities like hospitals, clinics or an urgent care center where medical professionals meet with patients. But currently, as technology develops and with a pandemic in hand, the service is extending to online modes too. This helps the scribe become more accessible to physicians and patients, resulting in higher quality of service.
Why a medical scribe?
A medical scribe job is to extract and document relevant information from patients encounters. They play a critical role in keeping up with the patient’s health state; a medical scribe, in short, shadows the physicians and navigates through the EMR.
Note that a medical scribe’s job is administrative and sometimes has to update the record for more than 1 patient at the same time. A lot of doctors are willing to pay for a medical scribe out of their own pocket shows the importance for them during medical treatments. Medical scribes are on demand since patient electronic health record systems are now the new standard and still are continuously changing and improving everyday, so in order that everything is accurately captured and recorded, a scribe is needed.
Medical scribe career outlook
It is recorded that 20% of physicians use a medical scribe, with another 10% planning on hiring them in the future. So medical scribes are expected to grow almost five-fold by 2024, with one scribe to nine physicians.
Per year, a medical scribe earns an average of $37,000, most of them are paid hourly. Although this number isn’t as remarkable as the top medical profession, it is still a considerable amount for a medical job with no licensing or certification needed. Thus, it opens a gateway for medical aspiring students to approach their desired field.
Become a medical scribe
You don’t need to have a medical skill to become a medical scribe, though if you do, the training would be very easy. You will receive training in medical terminology, pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, HIPAA, disease processes, and standard clinical documentation practices are among the required skills. From then on they would do eight supervised shifts before shadow doctors on their own.
Though, regardless of your medical background, you must possess qualities like critical thinking, attention to detail and a keen interest in supporting health care physicians to bring the best service to patients.
Having experience and a medical background has become the standard and norm for any medical student, so it is understandable that almost every medical student is looking for a pre-med gap year job. Why not try out medical scribe, a job that gives you hands-on experience in the medical field.