The use of scribes has been a topic of discussion quite a bit lately, so I thought it was time to talk about it here and see what your thoughts are.

If you're not yet familiar with the term, a scribe is a person who goes into the exam room with a physician and does the documentation on the patient visit into an electronic record, using a laptop or some type of portable device. It's being sold as a way for physicians to get their information into an electronic record quickly and a way to reduce costs.

Scribes need to have an medical scribe certification course online  of medical terminology so that the documentation is correct. They also need to be able to work with the technology that is being used, although, like medical transcription, I imagine systems will vary from provider to provider. My ophthalmologist has been using a "scribe" in his practice now for more than ten years, so I sometimes chuckle when I hear people talking about how new this practice is. Or perhaps he is jut ahead of his time.

The reports I've seen show that scribes tend to make a starting wage of $8 to $10 per hour. It is also reported that while some of the people doing this job have some medical background, many times they are trained from scratch in training programs that take six to eight weeks to complete. Most of the information shows that scribes work for a company, who then contracts with the healthcare facility to provide the services. These companies are charging the healthcare facilities $20 to $24 per hour for the scribe services.

Is this an opportunity for medical transcriptionists? Perhaps. Medical transcriptionists certainly have the skill set necessary to perform this function. While many will protest the pay, remember that these scribes are working for a company, or a middle man, who has to "upcharge" the healthcare provider in order to make money. How would that change if you went directly to a healthcare provider and offered those services?