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EMR Systems Spawn Cottage Industry: Scribes

Posted on September 19, 2011 I Written By

Priya Ramachandran is a Maryland based freelance writer. In a former life, she wrote software code and managed Sarbanes Oxley related audits for IT departments. She now enjoys writing about healthcare, science and technology.

One of the limiting factors when it comes to EMR systems is that it requires some amount of training to use an EMR system. Doctors are in the habit of writing down notes, or dictating them into dictaphones for transcribing later. So the idea of an EMR system that requires typed input can easily face some resistance, just based on the process change it requires. And hence the rise of a new class of health IT worker – the scribe.

Having a scribe taking notes at hand would’ve seriously helped me like my doctor better at my last appointment. This was someone whom I was meeting on account of a referral – I didn’t already have an established relationship with the doctor. The doctor and an assistant spent about a third of their time figuring out how to enter my scans into the EMR system. I don’t know what was at fault – the newly acquired iPad or an EMR they didn’t know how to use. They were effusive with their apologies but I couldn’t help feeling that I got the short end of the stick when the doc rushed through the rest of my visit and quickly ushered me out. A competent scribe, well versed in their EMR of choice, might have really helped.

 There have been a slew of articles about the rise of scribes in health IT. They started sounding really promising to me, especially when I considered how one could tail a doctor on his/her rounds with patients, and gain some insight into the business of being a doctor from the ground up. I checked out a couple of companies (ScribeAmerica, EM Scribe Systems) that train medical scribes and source them out to ERs. EM Scribe Systems’ application form states that it requires a one or two year commitment, wants to know what your future med school plans are. The pay anywhere is between $8-$16/hour (scroll to the bottom of the page). The higher end of that range gets paid with scribe experience.

(Seriously? If medical transcription can be outsourced to India and Philippines, why set the bar so high for medical scribe jobs? Or alternatively, if the bar is so high, why not pay better?)

I guess the pre-med scribes are approaching it from a different aspect – the real payback for them comes from understanding the medical aspect. The EMR system is merely a tool to an end.

Transcriptionists Partner with EMR Vendor

Posted on May 6, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

About 6 months to a year ago, a few transcription companies joined EMR and HIPAA as advertisers. Since that time I’ve had a chance to meet with these transcription companies and I must admit that the experience has been really quite intriguing.

So many people see the transcriptionists dieing out and being replaced by EMR and other related technology. Instead, I’ve seen a real strong set of transcription companies that are working to be a compliment to an EMR installation. That’s not to say that they’re not fighting for their lives. They are, but at least they’re not dead on the vine like many might have thought.

One example of this is in MxSecure’s offering an EMR for Medical Transcription companies.

We are really excited about this for other transcription companies. They are currently 2,000 small mom and pop transcription services across the country. They all are doing a great job documenting patient encounters for their customers. As technology is changing we want to help them add more value and keep their business. As compared to larger EMR companies that promote getting rid of your transcription we are the opposite. We are for whatever the physician thinks is most productive for them.

Add in a software like MModal to the dictated notes and I’m really interested to see how an EMR for medical transcription companies is going to work out.

Full Disclosure: As I stated above, MxSecure is an advertiser on my other EMR website, EMR and HIPAA. However, I was not paid or influenced to write this post. I just found it interesting and thought others would too.