Medical documentation is a vital part of healthcare delivery, but it can also be a source of frustration and stress for physicians. According to a study by the American Medical Association, physicians spend an average of 16 minutes on electronic health records (EHRs) for every hour of direct patient care. This means less time for interacting with patients, providing quality care, and maintaining work-life balance.
Fortunately, there is a solution that can help physicians overcome these challenges: remote medical scribes. Remote medical scribes are trained professionals who document patient encounters for physicians who work off-site. Remote scribes can transcribe recordings, add notes to charts, correct machine transcriptions, and perform other clerical tasks. Remote scribes work via a HIPAA-secure computer connection and are responsible for maintaining patient privacy and confidentiality.
In this blog post, we will explore the benefits, challenges, and best practices of using remote medical scribes in your practice. We will also compare different types of remote medical scribe services and provide some tips on how to find and hire the best remote medical scribe provider for your needs.
A remote medical scribe is a person who works remotely from a secure location and uses technology to access your patient encounters via audio or video. A remote medical scribe can perform the same tasks as an onsite medical scribe, such as:
Capturing relevant information from your patient interactions
Entering data into your electronic health record (EHR) system
Generating visit summaries and billing codes
However, unlike an onsite medical scribe, a remote medical scribe does not physically accompany you in the exam room. Instead, they use a headset, microphone, camera, computer, and internet connection to communicate with you and access your EHR system
Remote medical scribes can offer many advantages for physicians and their patients. Here are some of the benefits of using remote medical scribes:
Reduce administrative burden: Remote medical scribes can relieve physicians from the tedious and time-consuming task of documenting patient encounters. Remote scribes can capture all the relevant information and document it in the appropriate EHR field. This can save physicians hours of work each day and allow them to focus on more important aspects of their practice.
Less intrusive: Remote medical scribes are less intrusive than onsite medical scribes, who may interfere with the patient-provider relationship or cause privacy concerns. Remote scribes can work discreetly and efficiently without disrupting the flow of the visit or distracting the physician or the patient.
Allow physicians to see more patients: Remote medical scribes can increase the productivity and efficiency of physicians by enabling them to see more patients in a given time period. Remote scribes can also help physicians avoid delays and errors in documentation that may affect billing and reimbursement.
Cut costs: Remote medical scribes can reduce the operational costs of hiring and training onsite medical scribes. Remote scribes are typically paid by the hour or by the encounter, which can be more affordable than paying a full-time salary and benefits for an onsite employee.
Onsite medical scribes are individuals who accompany physicians during patient visits and document the encounter in real-time. Onsite scribes may use a laptop, tablet, or other device to enter data into the EHR system. Onsite scribes may also assist physicians with other tasks such as retrieving lab results, scheduling appointments, or ordering tests.
Remote medical scribes are individuals who work remotely to assist physicians with documentation and other data entry tasks. The provider is able to connect with the remote scribe via internet technologies or even by telephone if necessary. Remote scribes may use voice recognition software, video conferencing tools, or other applications to transcribe or edit the provider’s notes.
Here is a table that compares some of the pros and cons of onsite vs. remote medical scribes:
|Onsite Medical Scribe
|Remote Medical Scribe
- Can observe non-verbal cues and physical exam findings
- Can interact directly with the provider and the patient
- Can provide immediate feedback and clarification
- Can work from any location with an internet connection
- Can offer more flexibility and availability for providers
- Can reduce overhead costs and liability risks
- Can be costly to hire and train
- Can be intrusive or disruptive during patient visits
- Can pose privacy or security risks
- Can face technical issues or connectivity problems
- Can have difficulty capturing non-verbal cues or physical exam findings
- Can require additional training and supervision
Remote medical scribes work by using technology to connect with physicians and document their patient encounters. The exact process may vary depending on the type of remote medical scribe service, but here is a general overview of how remote medical scribes work:
The provider enters the room with the patient and connects with the remote medical scribe via a tablet, phone, or other device.
The provider introduces the remote medical scribe to the patient and obtains their consent for the documentation process.
The provider conducts the patient visit as usual, while the remote medical scribe listens and records the encounter in real-time.
The provider reviews and signs off on the documentation after the visit, or requests any changes or corrections from the remote medical scribe.
The remote medical scribe completes and submits the documentation to the EHR system, following the provider’s preferences and protocols.
Remote medical scribes are required to have certain training and qualifications to perform their job effectively and accurately. Remote medical scribes typically need to have:
A high school diploma or equivalent
A certification or degree in medical transcription, medical assisting, or a related field
A minimum of one year of experience as a medical scribe, transcriptionist, or assistant
A thorough knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and coding
A proficiency in using EHR systems, voice recognition software, and other computer applications
A strong command of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting
A high level of accuracy, attention to detail, and quality control
A good communication, listening, and interpersonal skills
A respect for patient privacy and confidentiality
A willingness to learn and adapt to different provider styles and preferences
Hiring qualified remote medical scribes can ensure that your documentation is done correctly and efficiently. Qualified remote medical scribes can also help you avoid errors, omissions, or inconsistencies that may affect your billing, compliance, or patient care.
There are different types of remote medical scribe services available in the market, such as video-based, audio-based, or hybrid. Each type of service has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on your preferences and needs. Here is a brief comparison of the different types of remote medical scribe services:
- Allows the scribe to see the provider and the patient during the visit
- Enables the scribe to capture non-verbal cues and physical exam findings
- Enhances the communication and interaction between the provider and the scribe
- Allows the provider to connect with the scribe via a simple phone call
- Requires less bandwidth and equipment than video-based services
- Offers more flexibility and convenience for providers who work in different locations or settings
- Allows the provider to choose between video or audio connection depending on the situation
- Combines the benefits of both video-based and audio-based services
- Provides more options and customization for providers and scribes
- Requires a stable internet connection and a compatible device
- May be more intrusive or distracting during patient visits
- May pose more privacy or security risks due to video transmission
- Limits the scribe’s ability to see the provider or the patient during the visit
- May increase the risk of errors or omissions due to lack of visual cues
- May reduce the quality or accuracy of documentation due to audio quality or background noise
- May require more training and coordination for providers and scribes
- May be more expensive or complex than other types of services
- May not be suitable for all types of visits or specialties
To choose the best remote medical scribe service for your practice, you need to consider several factors, such as:
Cost: How much are you willing to pay for a remote medical scribe service? What is your budget and how does it compare to the pricing structure of different services?
Convenience: How easy is it to connect with a remote medical scribe service? What are the technical requirements and equipment needed for each type of service?
Quality: How accurate, complete, and consistent is the documentation provided by a remote medical scribe service? What are the quality assurance measures and feedback mechanisms for each type of service?
Security: How secure and compliant is the data transmission and storage of a remote medical scribe service? What are the privacy policies and safeguards for each type of service?
Reliability: How reliable and available is a remote medical scribe service? What are the response time and turnaround time for each type of service?
Experience: How experienced and qualified are the scribes working for a remote medical scribe service? What are their credentials, training, and specialty?
By comparing and evaluating these factors, you can find a remote medical scribe service that meets your expectations and needs.
Once you have decided to use remote medical scribes in your practice, you need to follow some steps to implement them successfully. Here are some of the steps involved in implementing remote medical scribes in your practice:
Select a remote medical scribe provider: Choose a reputable and reliable remote medical scribe provider that offers the type of service that suits your needs. Do your research, check their reviews, ask for references, and request a demo or trial before signing a contract.
Set up the equipment: Make sure you have the necessary equipment and software to connect with your remote medical scribe provider. This may include a tablet, phone, headset, microphone, camera, or other devices. Test your internet connection, audio quality, video quality, and EHR system compatibility before starting your sessions.
Train your staff: Educate your staff about the benefits, challenges, and best practices of using remote medical scribes. Explain how remote medical scribes work, what they can and cannot do, how to communicate with them, how to obtain patient consent, how to review and sign off on documentation, and how to provide feedback. Address any concerns or questions that your staff may have about using remote medical scribes.
Monitor the performance: Evaluate the performance of your remote medical scribe provider on a regular basis. Check their accuracy, completeness, consistency, and timeliness of your documentation. Provide feedback and suggestions to your remote medical scribe provider to improve their service and quality.
Provide feedback and communication: Communicate clearly and regularly with your remote medical scribe team. Provide them with instructions, preferences, and expectations for your documentation process. Provide them with feedback and recognition for their work. Address any issues or concerns that may arise promptly and professionally.
Remote medical scribes are a solution to your documentation woes that can help you save time, reduce errors, improve quality, and focus on your patients. By using a remote medical scribe, you can enjoy the benefits of having a trained professional who can create detailed and accurate medical records for you in real time.
However, not all remote medical scribe services are created equal. You need to choose carefully and wisely to find the best one for your practice. You also need to implement and monitor them properly to ensure a smooth transition and a successful collaboration.
If you are interested in trying out remote medical scribes for your practice, we have a recommendation for you: Tali.
Tali is an AI ambient scribe and medical dictation software that can greatly assist healthcare professionals with their documentation tasks. Tali is not a remote medical scribe service, but a software alternative that can offer some advantages over human scribes.
With Tali, you can:
Automatically generate visit summaries following your own templates
Dictate your notes using natural language directly into your EHR system
Capture relevant information from your patient interactions
Ensure privacy and security
Tali is easy to use, affordable, and reliable. You do not need any additional equipment or setup to use Tali. You just need your computer and an internet connection.
Tali can help you reduce your documentation burden by up to 70% and increase your efficiency by up to 30%. Tali can also improve your quality of care by allowing you to spend more time with your patients and less time on paperwork.
If you want to experience the benefits of Tali for yourself, you can sign up for our free trial today. You will get access to all the features of Tali for 14 days without any obligation or risk.
Don’t let documentation get in the way of your practice. Try Tali today and see how it can transform your workflow and enhance your patient care.
A remote medical scribe is a trained professional who assists physicians with documenting patient encounters from a secure location using audio or video technology. They transcribe recordings, add notes to charts, correct machine transcriptions, and perform other clerical tasks. Unlike an onsite medical scribe who physically accompanies the physician in the exam room, a remote scribe uses technology such as a headset, microphone, camera, computer, and internet connection to communicate with the physician and access the electronic health record (EHR) system.
Remote medical scribes offer several advantages for physicians and patients. They help reduce the administrative burden by documenting patient encounters accurately and efficiently, allowing physicians to focus on patient care. Remote scribes are less intrusive compared to onsite scribes, maintaining the patient-provider relationship and privacy. These scribes also enable physicians to see more patients, enhancing productivity, and potentially reducing errors in documentation that can affect billing and reimbursement. Moreover, they can cut costs by eliminating the need to hire and train full-time onsite scribes, as remote scribes are typically paid per encounter or hour.
To successfully implement remote medical scribes, there are several steps to follow. First, select a reputable and suitable remote medical scribe provider based on reviews and references. Ensure you have the necessary equipment for communication with the remote scribe, and test your connectivity and compatibility. Train your staff on the benefits, challenges, and best practices of working with remote scribes, including communication methods and obtaining patient consent. Regularly monitor the performance of your chosen provider, providing feedback to improve their service. Effective communication with the remote scribe team is crucial, involving clear instructions, feedback, and prompt addressing of any issues. Through proper implementation, remote medical scribes can help streamline documentation processes and improve patient care.