Scribes slash EMR burden
Provider satisfaction ‘off the charts,’ says one urologist
There is no license required to become a medical scribe. The job description, according to ScribeAmerica, is a person who helps the provider with data gathering and real-time EMR documentation. And while the profession does not require certification or training to educate scribes on medical terminology, privacy law, and more, scribes hired through companies like ScribeAmerica receive training. In the case of ScribeAmerica, it’s 120 initial hours and continuing scribe education. And there is a certification through the American College of Medical Scribe Specialists, although the college’s website does not list urology among the specialties certified.
Scribes’ pay often comes out of physicians’ pockets.
The average pay for a scribe in a urology practice is $10 to $16 an hour, according to Dr. Murphy. Payscale.com lists the average pay for a medical scribe at about $12 an hour. The average medical scribe salary is $20,000, according to Glassdoor.com.
“I am sure this varies but we have paid $12 to $16 per hour, depending on the experience and expertise of the scribe,” Dr. Kogan said.
Another potential disadvantage of scribes is that they add one more person to the room, according to Dr. Stork.
“Sometimes, when I have a patient and a bunch of family members in a room and a scribe, there just isn’t enough room. And I’ll ask the scribe to step out and tell her later what to add,” he said.
Not everyone is a fan
Peter C. Albertsen, MD, who practices urology at UConn Health, Farmington, CT, said he doesn’t think using a scribe is cost-effective for his practice.
“Furthermore, what happens to these people when I am in the OR, on vacation, add patients for an extra session, am away at a meeting, etc.? Unless a scribe has other duties, I am not certain it makes sense financially,” Dr. Albertsen said. “I usually click the various boxes and phrases as I take my history and then type a summary note at the end. I often read as I am typing to reinforce points with patients and make sure they agree and understand the plan. I then hand them a copy of the masterplan as they leave the office.”
Whether to hire a scribe is often a matter of physician preference, according to Dr. Stork. Dr. Stork’s partners, for example, have chosen not to have scribes.
“We’re all wired differently. I think that for physicians who really want to spend more time with their patients and don’t want to be spending a lot of hours after office hours, inputting all that data, a scribe is a really good option,” Dr. Stork said.