Physicians in the United States are justifiably upset by the excessive time spent documenting their work into electronic health record systems (EHRs). Studies suggest that nearly 50% of a physician’s time is consumed by documentation tasks, leaving limited time for direct patient care. To address this challenge, many physicians are turning to medical scribes for assistance in completing documentation tasks and meeting regulatory compliance requirements. Office managers play a crucial role in researching, sourcing, hiring, training, monitoring, and evaluating medical scribe services to ensure they meet organizational and regulatory requirements. This comprehensive guide outlines the key factors that office managers should consider when searching for the best medical scribe service.
1. HIPAA Compliance for Data Security:
Ensuring HIPAA compliance is critical when handling sensitive medical data. When evaluating medical scribe services, inquire about:
– Technology: Verify if the transmission of sensitive health data occurs through encrypted channels and if the service provider has robust firewall protection.
– Process: Ensure that the medical scribing work is performed in a HIPAA-compliant office facility and not outsourced to subcontractors or conducted through home-based models. Inquire about security measures such as surveillance cameras, access control systems, and security officers.
– People: Confirm that the medical scribe staff is trained on the importance of HIPAA compliance and are committed to strict client confidentiality.
2. Level of Expertise:
Consider the experience and expertise of the medical scribe service. Inquire about the duration they have been in the medical scribing business and request information about their past and present clients. A reputable company with extensive industry experience is more likely to provide high-quality work. You get access to medical scribes who demonstrate strong professional ethics, excellent typing skills, a good understanding of medical terminology, and a commitment to maintaining patient confidentiality.
3. Quick Inquiry Response:
Evaluate the responsiveness of prospective medical scribe companies. A prompt and efficient response to your questions or queries indicates professionalism and reliability. A company that is unresponsive may not provide the desired level of service and cannot guarantee a smooth working relationship.
4. Thorough Research:
Avoid rushing into a decision by selecting the first medical scribe service provider that appears in your search results. Conduct a thorough research by checking online reviews and contacting references provided by the company. Look for client testimonials from satisfied clients, as this indicates a healthy clientele base and increases the likelihood of a positive experience for your organization.
5. 24/7 Continual Support:
Choose a medical scribe service provider that offers 24/7 support. Look for companies that assign a dedicated primary scribe and have trained backup scribes available to ensure uninterrupted scribing services. The absence of a medical scribe should not disrupt the physician’s workflow or patient care.
6. Price Transparency/Free Trial Offer:
Transparency in pricing is crucial to help physicians be better prepared and informed. Look for medical scribe services that offer straightforward and transparent pricing. Don’t lock yourself in long-term contracts, as this may be an indication that they are not doing their business right. Consider providers that offer a no-obligation free trial, allowing physicians to evaluate the service before committing to a long-term partnership.
Ensure that medical scribes actively participate in compliance programs provided by the service provider. Regular monitoring of their performance and periodic refresher training courses should be in place to ensure that their knowledge is up-to-date. Inquire about the service provider’s audit programs to ensure continuous improvement in documentation quality, privacy, and security standards.
As an office manager, selecting a trusted and reliable medical scribe partner is essential for your healthcare organization. Taking the time and effort to thoroughly research and make an informed decision will yield long-term benefits for the practice. Remember that a rightly chosen medical scribe service can enhance physician productivity, improve patient care, and alleviate the burden of documentation, while a wrong choice may lead to undesirable consequences. By considering factors such as HIPAA compliance, expertise, quick response, research, support, price transparency, and compliance, office managers can make an informed decision and establish a successful partnership with a medical scribe service provider.