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Should You Become a Medical Scribe?


Having a cursory gander at a healthcare jobs board, and you will notice a wealth of positions available for healthcare professionals. From registered nurse jobs to physician assistants, from technician vacancies to openings for hospital admin staff, the types of healthcare jobs out there are pretty well known to anybody involved in the healthcare system.

However, there is one type of healthcare position that is perhaps not as well-known among even healthcare professionals. This is the role of a medical scribe. But what do such people do? And who needs a scribe in today’s world? Well, the job is evidently still in existence and, as it happens, vitally important for the medical profession. Health Jobs, an online recruitment service, say that these jobs are fairly common, and although not the most popular choice of specialty, there are many people going into what, in fact, can be a long and rewarding career.

What is a Medical Scribe?

What is a medical scribe though? The first thing to note is that it is quite surprising that this role still exists today. A medical scribe is responsible, essentially, for data entry and transfer. This data normally takes the form of health information, monitoring charts, test results, and patient information. Such information needs to be exchanged efficiently and as quickly as possible between care providers and institutions. This is essential for the efficiency of any medical institution, and scribes are needed for this.

Medical record keeping today relies on electronic health records (EHRs), which are transferred digitally between relevant healthcare professionals. The existence of these medical health records has pretty much birthed the role of the medical scribe.

A medical scribe is defined as an individual hired to enter data into an EHR. They are normally employed as independent contractors and can find themselves working in several different healthcare institutions – often simultaneously. The most important aspect of a medical scribe job is that they enter information in real time, often from the exam room and as the patient is being examined. Alleviating doctors and nurses of this role is one of the ways in which medical scribes simply help a healthcare institution run more efficiently.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Medical Scribe

If this job is piquing your interest, then it’s a good idea to explore further what the roles and responsibilities will look like on a daily basis. Here follows some of the most important. They can be grouped under two categories:

Legal Considerations.

Patient data is protected by law, and so there is a strong legal dimension to the role of medical scribe. A medical scribe must be abreast of state and federal data regulations and how to keep everything above board in this regard. Before they even type a word, this needs to be clear in the mind of any medical scribe.

There are also a series of legal considerations that arise from the medical scribe’s role as a third-party contractor. It is their responsibility to know about this as well.

Documentation Duties

Getting on to the main stuff of being a medical scribe, the job mostly involves the quick and accurate updating of electronic health records. The type of data involved here includes patient details (including name, age, and the dates of medical procedures), any conditions they might be suffering from, health data such as vital signs (and how they have changed), and, most importantly, data pertaining to the general progress of a patient’s care.

Ultimately, medical scribes can boost a healthcare institution’s ability to provide effective care. Even with all the astonishing technological advancements we’ve seen in healthcare, they remain essential.

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