When hiring a virtual medical scribe, you should consider a few factors before you make your final decision. While virtual scribes can provide valuable assistance in your practice, they also pose a unique set of liability risks. While you can hire any freelancer or agency for certain tasks, you should also be sure to choose a company that has proven security standards. These steps can help you reduce your liability exposure and avoid costly penalties for HIPAA violations.
First and foremost, the scribe must have an excellent understanding of your medical terminology, human anatomy, and other topics. They should also know how to respect the confidentiality of patient records and understand the role of a healthcare worker. They should also be knowledgeable about infection control, patient privacy, and information technology. The training regimen for prospective scribes will vary. Some require new scribes to take an official graded course before they are allowed to begin working while others require a period of supervision.
If the cost of an onsite scribe is too high for your practice, consider hiring a telescriber. The services of a telemedicine scribe will alleviate the administrative burden and increase productivity. Whether you need someone to transcribe your notes for a specific doctor or a medical assistant, a remote scribe can help. In this way, a virtual medical scribe can supplement your practice’s administrative staff, allowing you to focus on patient care.
Another important factor to consider when hiring a virtual medical scribe is experience. The American College of Medical Scribe Specialists is the nation’s certification body for medical scribes. These professionals are regularly assessed and trained and must have at least 50 hours of clinical experience before they can earn their Certified Medical Scribe Specialist credential. The certification is required by midlevel healthcare providers to work in a health care facility.
In addition to the skill level and the amount of experience of a virtual medical scribe, you should also consider whether they work remotely. If they are based in another country, you can find a company with a local service in the location where you practice. The company should have experience and an established reputation in the health industry. After all, they are professionals with a proven track record. Therefore, a virtual medical scribe can help you meet your practice goals.
As with all outsourcing, there are risks. A foreign scribe may violate HIPAA. The healthcare provider must take the appropriate steps to ensure compliance with HIPAA, including limiting disclosure of PHI online. Foreign scribes can also violate HIPAA when the physician doesn’t recognize the relationship between the patient and the scribe. However, most healthcare organizations have reported that the time spent in the initial training has been well worth it. The scribes also can reduce physicians’ competency in the use of electronic health records and other technology.
In addition to reducing physician burnout, a scribe can help improve efficiency by adding up to one or five additional office visit slots for a provider. The increase in productivity will positively impact the ROI of a practice. Scribes are also useful in training future clinicians. They can offer hands-on experience, terminology training, and an opportunity to observe physicians make medical decisions. This is an invaluable benefit for physicians.