Ever sat and watched a medical and drama and found yourself repeating the jargon ad nauseam? Ever thought that your love for words and attention to detail could be useful in a career path. Not interested in medicine because you don’t like to be around people?
If two out of three of these sound like you, then a medical scribe might be the job title you’re looking for. What is a medical scribe? It’s a clerical role that keeps the medical world moving.
Every test scheduled and every pill administered needs to be recorded and coordinated. Sometimes this is in-house but often it requires contact with a dozen other clinics and facilities in an area.
Without medical scribes to hold the back-end together, the medical world would grind to a halt.
What Is A Medical Scribe?
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Someone has to keep track of where patients have been, who has seen them, and what tests have been done (and which have yet to be done). This person is the medical scribe.
In a sense, scribes keep the books and organize data in the most efficient way. Like a court stenographer, they listen in on interactions between a patient and doctor, but their job isn’t just keeping minutes. (A medical transcriptionist is a more direct parallel to stenographers.)
The modern medical industry created the EHR or electronic health record, to manage patient information. This made it necessary to have specialized knowledge to quickly incorporate and decode this information.
Currently, to avoid clutter inside the hospital and to centralize processes, many offices use a virtual medical scribe. This fills the same role but the interactions are monitored through cameras and screens.
Accuracy is key but the lack of patient interaction, low pressure, and minimum bar of experience required puts medical scribes on the low end of pay. This is especially reflected in the ramp-up from the median of $32,000 to the high end of $178,000 for emergency medicine scribes.
The pay increases substantially in line with the knowledge base and pressure.
Medical scribes are expected to be accurate and to record interactions efficiently. They also spend a lot of time coordinating with colleagues in other offices to record the results of tests and confirm procedures.
Scheduling of the actual tests still falls to nurses and reception staff. The medical scribe ensures that results get recorded holistically, leaving out no salient detail.
What is the primary function of a medical scribe? By far, their most important task is to ensure accuracy. Anything recorded incorrectly risks the patient’s health.
Record keeping represents a bulk of medical malpractice claims. Placing one person in charge of this, a person not distracted by constant interruptions (nurses) or weighty decisions (doctors) helps maintain this crucial accuracy.
If working in and around medicine (but not with patients) excites you, the answer to “What is a medical scribe?” could be you!
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