Ophthalmic scribes form an integral part of the eye care team. They help offload non-essential EHR-related tasks and create an efficient patient care environment that greatly contributes to improving patient and provider satisfaction. As more people require eye care, demand for this profession is predicted to rise by a staggering 23% by 2028, creating 154,900 job opportunities across the US. If you are an aspiring student intending to join the eye care team as a scribe, getting the ophthalmic certification is the first step towards establishing an exciting and potentially lucrative career in the realm of vision care.

How to obtain a scribe certification?

Becoming an ophthalmic scribe opens the door to a whole new world of opportunities in the ophthalmic field. To get started you need to complete a specialized certification program. Let us now get to know about the ophthalmic scribe certification program in detail.

With the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services(CMS) providing the approval in 2015 stating that the ophthalmic-certified scribes will qualify to enter CPOE (computerized physician order entry) more and more scribes intending to work in the eye care field started taking up the certification programs. Ophthalmic specialties also feel that having a certified scribe not only helps improve clinical efficiency but also complies with Medicare’s “Meaningful Use” requirements.

All about OSC scribe certification

Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) offers various certification programs for individuals in the ophthalmology field.  The Ophthalmic Scribe Certification (OSC) is one such program. The OSC satisfies the CMS regulations with its unique 125-item ophthalmic scribe certification exam. Their certification program is intended to assess expertise in creating and maintaining medical records while working directly under an ophthalmologist. These records may include systematic documentation of the patient’s history, physical examination findings, medications, diagnostic test results, and other crucial patient information. This certification exam complies with the CMS Stage 2 eligible professional ‘Meaningful Use’ core measure objective.

Topics covered

This is an open-book exam that allows one to refer to books and other resource materials. The exam has 125 questions covering everything from EHRs to history taking, abbreviations, acronyms, anatomy, nomenclature, tools, pharmacology, patient services, and the additional skills required of an ophthalmic scribe.

What is the recommended eligibility?

The following are recommended, but not mandatory for sitting for an OSC exam.

1. Candidates who wish to become an ophthalmic scribe certified professional and are already IJCAHPO certified


2. Have already completed a one-year scribe certification program or a two-year associates scribe degree within 12 months immediately before the date of completing the exam. The program must cover everything from anatomy, medical terms, jargon, grammar, punctuation usage, risk management, and legal issues of medical documentation.


3. Have worked for at least 1000 hours as a medical scribe or as a front office staff under the guidance and supervision of an ophthalmologist for a period of 12 months prior to submitting the application or have served as a non-certified ophthalmic medical professional.

How to obtain the certificate of completion

In order to obtain a certification go to www.eyecarece.org and register for an online exam. After paying your fees you will be provided access to the online certification exam page.  On passing the online exam you will be given a temporary certificate of completion. However, within four weeks of passing the scribe certification exam, you will receive your permanent certificate through your email. The OSC certification is valid for a period of three years. After which, recertification is required to ensure that you are keeping your skills updated. Recertification is obtained by passing an online exam.

Other resources

In addition to the ophthalmic scribe certification, the ophthalmic scribe manual that is available on Amazon is an excellent training resource for learning medical terminology to pharmacology and everything in between. It includes all information relevant to ophthalmology and even the functionalities of an EHR used in an ophthalmology practice. Similarly, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is an excellent resource for learning anything related to ophthalmic terms and diseases written in a simple and easy-to-understand language.

Ophthalmic scribes are a crucial part of the healthcare team that provides eye care. They help physicians reduce administrative burden related to EHR use and add great value to ophthalmic practice. If you are considering a career as an ophthalmic medical scribe get the training you need to excel in your career by taking up an OSC certification exam conducted by JCAHPO. Upon successful completion of the certification program, you will gain the valuable knowledge and skills required to pursue an exciting and rewarding career as an ophthalmic scribe.

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