Medical Scribes: A New Role for MTs?

medical scribeChange is the only constant in life and the medical transcription industry is no different. While the demand for medical transcriptionists and speech recognition editors is still very real, some MTs may decide that they want a change of scenery. Perhaps working from home wasn’t quite what they had imagined, especially with the significant lack of social interaction. Perhaps they found they loved the medical field so much that they want to be more immersed in it. Perhaps a consistent paycheck and set hours appealed to them more than the flexibility of working from home. Whatever the reason, it’s good to know that your medical transcription training may give you a shoe-in to other professions in the medical field. A new position that has been popping up around the country is that of a medical scribe.

What is a medical scribe?

Traditionally, a doctor’s main role was to focus on diagnosis and patient care. Since the adoption of EHR systems, though, a lot more of the doctor’s time is taken up with sitting at a computer, inputting information, and less with patient interaction.  This is something that both doctors and patients kind of hate.  I know I hate when I go into an exam room and see that the first thing the doctor does is sit at the computer instead of talk to me. That’s where medical scribes are starting to come into play.

The best description I found was on Wikipedia: Medical scribes are trained in medical information and documentation and specialize in charting physician-patient encounters in real-time during medical exams. Medical scribes follow the physician from patient to patient and create the encounter report in real-time. They usually use the facility’s Electronic Health Record software and/or existing templates to create the reports. This frees the doctor up to focus on patient care.

What kind of qualifications are they looking for?

Here are just a few qualifications I could find when researching medical scribes:

• Usually at least a high school diploma and some college or a trade school (like Career Step).
• Excellent typing and spelling skills. Good computer skills are also a bonus.
• Experience with medical terminology and anatomy.
• Responsible and mature individual who can remain objective and unbiased. You will be in the examination room with the physician, so you cannot allow your personal feelings to show through. You must remain professional at all times.
• A constitution to allow you to work under the rigors of delivering medical care (not squeamish).
• A good working knowledge of anatomy and pathophysiology.
• Ability to maintain absolute privacy and strong knowledge of HIPAA guidelines.

What are the job prospects?

This type of position is fairly new, so there isn’t a ton of information out there about the job prospects. However, it could be a really great opportunity for MT graduates and seasoned MTs alike who are looking for a change of pace, to work in an office, or to work more directly with physicians.

For additional information on medical scribes, I found a few great websites with a lot of detailed information:

Onward and upward!

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