On a Mission to Enhance the Quality of Care, what is the future of Remote Medical Scribes?
Expert physicians suggest that a remote medical scribe can be used for much more than just documenting the entire visit and that they are yet to explore the full potential of remote medical scribing as a service to help enhance quality of care.
As more healthcare providers and facilities begin to implement HITECH Act, there has been rapid development and increasing use of Electronic Medical records (EMRs). Remote medical scribing flourished as an industry in the past decade due to the physicians’ shortcomings in entering clinical data in the EMR comprehensively and simultaneously while seeing a patient. The growth of the virtual scribe services catalyzed further due to the pandemic that saw a mass backlog of charts of COVID-19 patients and demanded a lesser number of people in close proximity in a clinical room.
As the pandemic begins to subside and the medical scribing sector standardizes its training and core offerings, stakeholders are wondering how beneficial it could be if they can extract more out of medical scribes and whether remote medical scribing can offer more. With evolving healthcare paradigm and advancing technologies, remote scribe service providers have realized the need to train medical scribes in a manner that can empower them to evolve in their roles as per the demand of the physicians and hospitals.
A recent study done in 2021 used ethnographic methods comprising observations and interviews of different stakeholders to discuss and predict the future of medical scribes. Many experts suggested that a remote medical scribe can be used for much more than documenting the entire visit. Further, hospitals and providers are yet to explore the full potential of remote medical scribing as a service to help enhance the quality of care. Many of them opined on expanding medical scribes’ role, allowing them to capture more informatics activities. As the job profile is extending and is bound to evolve further, let’s delve into the future of remote medical scribes as they continue to present opportunities for providers and hospitals to offer enhanced quality of care.
Let’s take a sneak peek at the future of remote medical scribes
- Vertical growth: When remote medical scribing came into mainstream healthcare, scribes were told to document only the narrative of the patient along with taking dictation for the Physical Examination. Nowadays, medical scribes are also referring the patient to the specialist, sending prescriptions to the pharmacy, and ordering labs as per the directions of the doctor. Not all doctors have given this responsibility to their scribes yet. In the future, it’s going to become the norm.
Further, medical scribes can be foreseen moving up the ladder in terms of information management. They can share the workload of medical assistants (MAs) on busy days or during peak hours and reconcile medications and perform the patient intake, noting down family history, social history, and much more before the actual visit starts.
Hospitals and scribe services might bring regulatory changes allowing remote medical scribes to take up more responsibilities, further alleviating the provider’s workload and becoming more valuable in the future.
- Creating new templates: As scribe services begin to compete more fiercely, there scribes would come up with a broader and smarter range of notes and documentation styles, specific to the type of the visit, capturing information more precisely and discretely. A medical biller and coder, just by the mere look of the document, would know the type of the visit, which will help them code and bill the document faster and accurately.
Remote medical scribes would also guide physicians to follow better documentation strategies. Additionally, tech-savvy scribes would collaborate with informatics or IT department to update the existing or frame new documentation templates to help provider work more efficiently.
- Becoming workflow analysts: As the remote medical scribe joins the doctor, he shall be able to go through the entire schedule and the to-do tasks of the doctor daily. Based on his analysis, he would tell the doctor which things need prior attention and how to get them done quickly. It will require medical scribes to get a basic level of clinical management training. Additionally, a scribe’s role will expand in letting a doctor know if the patient is waiting for more than a few minutes after having the vital signs taken, further streamlining the clinical workflow.
- Involving more in clinical decision making: A medical scribe would be expected to let the doctor know about his previous treatment plan and whether it worked, especially during the follow-up visits. The scribe can pull the top-5 medications from the medication list for a particular illness and let the provider choose from them rather than have him search through the bunch of medications, simplifying decision-making.
- Becoming an integral member of the healthcare team: Healthcare facilities and remote scribe services would allow remote medical scribes to expand further into their roles and coordinate with other healthcare team members, viz., MAs, referral coordinators, and medical coders. It will involve, but won’t be limited to, the following:
- adding or taking off a medication to or from the medication list while the visit is ongoing and later informing the MA,
- leaving a note for the referral coordinator mentioning the patient’s preference for the specialist or facility to where he intends to be referred,
- broadly coding the illnesses mentioned in the medical document to quickly allow doctors to send the prescriptions, referrals, or lab orders and help coders put precise codes later after reviewing the chart
With COVID-19 continuing to transform workflow, scribes are receiving standardized remote medical scribing training to gain critical knowledge, skills, and attitude (KSAs), thus helping popularize the remote scribe services across the globe. As more proficient remote medical scribes come out of advanced training modules in the future, they will be assigned new roles and allowed to become an integral part of the healthcare team.
ScribeEMR provides real-time, remote, HIPAA-compliant EMR charting, medical coding, and ancillary support that improves practice efficiency, maximizes revenue, and reduces physician burnout. Extensively trained, remote medical scribes log in to document patient visits in real time, with quick turnaround and exceptional chart quality. Dedicated, certified medical coders assign the right codes to each diagnosis and treatment to reduce errors and optimize medical billing and reimbursement. Additional services include referral coordination, insurance eligibility verification, preauthorization management, and additional administrative, clerical, and customer support provided by trained virtual assistants. For more information visit www.scribeemr.com.