Doctors and nurses have so much more to do these days, thanks to the pandemic, and the responsibilities of keeping a business open and available for patients. The workload has increased, and staff already working long hours are hard-pressed to keep up with the demands of balancing the needs of the business with the needs of their patients. Doctors don’t have as much time with patients as they would like, so this is where a Virtual Medical Scribe can be a big help for doctors and their office staff.
What is a Medical Scribe, and What Do They Do?
A Medical Scribe is a trained professional who sits with the doctor during patient visits and records information in the office EMR system. This position is often confused for Medical Transcription, which is different. A Scribe listens and interprets information shared between the doctor and the patient, and makes notations directly in the patient’s chart via the EMR. A Medical Transcriptionist, on the other hand, works from a recorded dictation and simply types out every word that is spoken into a text copy of the recording. A Virtual Assistant in either of these roles performs their work via videoconferencing or working remotely.
Now that you understand the difference between the two, we can go on to explain the benefits offered by a Virtual Medical Scribe. If you have a very busy office, you may want to hire more than one Virtual Assistant to help lighten the load for your other staff, keeping your workplace happy and productive.
11 Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Medical Scribe:
Extra hands make light work. I’m sure you’ve heard this saying before. It means having an extra person around helps the work get done faster and easier for everyone. Since the charting is done in real-time, doctors can spend more time with patients and less time on paperwork.
Allows more time for patient visits. One complaint that many patients have these days is that they only see their doctor for a few minutes after spending 2 hours driving, waiting in traffic, and looking for a place to park. They tend to feel that there isn’t enough time to explain their symptoms or get answers to questions because the doctor is so rushed. This is a solution to this problem.
Documentation is done in half the time. Doctors love spending time with their patients, but they hate paperwork. It’s their least favorite part of the job. Normally, patient charting is done after the visit and can take some time to finish. It can be very tedious as well. A Virtual Medical Scribe can perform this work during the patient’s visit, cutting down the time it takes to complete each chart, freeing up more time for other tasks.
Relief from administrator burnout. Burnout is one of the major causes of stress for medical healthcare providers. They love their jobs, they love helping the patients, but the stress becomes overwhelming, and many often need to take a break or go on leave to recuperate. This wouldn’t be necessary if you had additional staff to handle many of the routine tasks and documentation that takes up so much of your available time.
Improved Accuracy. A doctor is used to doing several things at once. While listening to patients, he is also making mental notes to write in their charts after the visit. If he becomes distracted during any part of the process, he might forget valuable information, leading to mistakes or errors in the patient’s medical history. A Medical Scribe does this job for you, so you can focus 100% of your attention on the patient.
Invoicing is sped up. A common source of stress for medical providers is having to write up invoices for services rendered. If there are errors in the billing information, it can lead to delays in payments being received on time. You don’t have to worry about mistakes or inaccuracies when you have a Medical Scribe working in the room with you. Charting gets done during the visit, which means the invoices can be sent and received in a timely manner, allowing you to get paid faster.
Patients spend less time in the waiting room. A benefit for you and your patients is less time spent waiting. Having a Virtual Medical Scribe to handle many of the duties that are done between patients allows doctors to get to patients sooner, so they spend less time in the waiting room before and after appointments.
Increased Sales Revenue. Truck drivers are only paid for the time they spend on the road, and athletes are only paid for the time they spend in the game. Likewise, doctors are only paid for the time they spend with patients, as they bill the patient’s insurance provider for the visit. All the time they spend doing paperwork and other tasks is unpaid and takes up valuable time they could use to see new patients, increasing their revenue.
Better teamwork. When everyone works as a team, it lessens the stress and frustration, allowing everyone to finish their tasks sooner and feel more satisfaction.
Increased patient satisfaction. As a medical provider, you want your patients to be happy and keep them coming to your office. Many doctors who use Virtual Medical Scribes say they feel more efficient, are more productive, and the patients are happier since they don’t have to rush out of the room during visits.
Costs less than an hourly team member. There are no hourly fees associated with a Virtual Assistant. You pay one flat-fee weekly, and the cost is a fraction of what it would cost to hire another office worker part-time to handle the job.
The hardest thing for a doctor, dentist, or other healthcare practitioner is to have to rush through their visits and stay focused. They don’t want to forget any information, but because of this mental juggling act, they cannot be 100% patient-focused. Hiring a Virtual Medical Scribe allows them to focus completely on the patient, knowing that someone else is doing the charting and will handle the other tasks that are needed.