Medical scribe

Last Updated: 2021-04-15

A medical scribe is a great asset to the efficient flow of a medical office in this present-day environment. With the increasing need to document all medical evaluations and treatment planning including a listing of all current medications, allergies, and medical maladies, the scribe’s function has become invaluable. The time limitations in providing medical care often require an extra pair of hands and ancillary brain. Having a medical para-professional to scribe and/or to enter data into an Electronic Medical-Health Record has become a critically necessary function. Medical scribing has taken off on the West Coast and is becoming more prevalent on the East Coast.

The medical scribe is a para-professional who is trained with a background of medical experience particularly in medical terminology and thought-processes that are in keeping with clinical practice. The scribe is oftentimes an individual with a pre-medical education who plans to further him/herself with continuing education to become a full-fledged certified medical professional. There are training programs that can help facilitate the preparation needed to enter the profession. For Instance, PACIFIC Medical Training (pacificmedicaltraining.com) offers an excellent online medical scribe course.

The medical scribe has an interesting job as he/she is fully present during the history and examination of every patient scheduled with the practitioner. The scribe has the unique perspective of an observer and the exposure to the vast amount of communication and expertise that modern medical care entails makes the job of the scribe extremely interesting and very educational.

As a physician, and in my own particular circumstance, we advertised for a “Medical scribe”, a person that can function well on a computer keyboard and navigate an EMR system along with being familiar with medical terminology. Our scribe is in the examination room and is listening to the conversation between the patient and provider and takes down the pertinent medical information and places it into the medical record. At some point in the day, the scribe presents the notes to her/his assigned provider for appropriate review and, if needed, changes are made accordingly to complete the medical file. Confidentiality, good-manners, cleanliness and ultimate professionalism are required qualities for the successful scribe to adhere to.

In summary, then, the medical scribe is a respected member of the medical team and has a unique and privileged birds-eye view of day-to-day medical care. Working as a medical scribe is an exciting and favorably emerging vocation. Depending on the needs of the particular medical office and the associated providers, scribes can work either part-time or full-time. The reimbursement is typically what a clerical medical office employee would expect. The hourly wages (which will vary regionally) are likely between $12 – $16 an hour. Additionally, other benefits could be offered, depending on the specific employment situation.