The global pandemic has undoubtedly reshaped the landscape of healthcare, leading to the widespread adoption of virtual health services. While virtual care was already gaining traction in recent years, the emergence of COVID-19 made it an absolute necessity. This abrupt transformation to virtual care brought about a significant change in the role of medical scribes, paving the way for the implementation of remote scribing for virtual care. Today, virtual medical scribes are taking over the EHR documentation tasks, allowing physicians to focus on what they are meant to do – taking care of patients.
The Role of Medical Scribes During COVID-19
Medical scribes have been a valuable part of healthcare teams for years, aiding in the documentation process from the era of paper records to modern electronic data entry tasks. Their role became increasingly crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic when physicians faced mounting challenges with medical documentation. The pandemic brought forth a backlog of unsigned charts and made the use of in-person scribes in exam rooms a less popular and hygienic option. Consequently, many hospitals turned to remote scribing services. A study reports that medical scribes not only reduced the time spent on documentation but also enhanced clinical efficiency during and after the pandemic for both in-person and virtual care visits. Scribes proved to be instrumental in easing the documentation burden and improving provider satisfaction and well-being.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Scribing
Following the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians hoped for a swift return to normalcy. However, as life resumed post-lockdown, it became evident that the situation was far from normal. Hospitals faced immense pressure to implement additional infection prevention strategies, leading to a drastic change in the role of in-person scribes. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, many healthcare facilities refrained from using in-person scribes in exam rooms. Moreover, some scribes were hesitant to come in due to fear of exposure to the virus, resulting in a significant decline in the prevalence of in-person scribes.
Transition to Virtual Scribes During COVID-19 and Beyond
Before the pandemic, most medical scribes operated within hospital settings, physically present in exam rooms to document patient-physician interactions. However, with a sharp decline in in-person visits during COVID-19, many scribes were either laid off or furloughed. As virtual care usage surged, physicians and patients sought safe and accessible healthcare options, leading to the rapid rise of virtual scribes. Today, virtual scribes have become increasingly prevalent and are equally effective as their in-person counterparts. Studies have shown that the role of the scribe has transformed significantly since the onset of the pandemic, with virtual options expected to become standard in the industry. Moreover, physicians have acknowledged that scribes are equally useful for both in-person and telemedicine appointments.
The Versatility of Virtual Scribes
The pandemic-induced consolidation of health systems has resulted in physicians frequently working across multiple facilities. In such instances, virtual scribes hold a distinct advantage over in-person scribes. Virtual medical scribes can remotely document physician-patient encounters, provided they have internet connectivity. Unlike in-person scribes, virtual scribe services have backup scribes readily available, ensuring uninterrupted service even in case of illness or time off.
Embracing the Future with Virtual Scribes
The past few years have presented immense challenges for healthcare professionals worldwide. However, the evolution of healthcare documentation has provided newer and better resources. Virtual medical scribes have emerged as a powerful tool, ensuring seamless documentation assistance for physicians. While COVID-19 might have rendered in-person scribe services less effective, virtual medical scribes have risen to the occasion, securing the future of medical documentation. If you are considering incorporating virtual medical scribes into your practice, consider reaching out to reliable scribe service providers out there who boast a pool of certified and highly experienced scribes, ready to match your specialty and deliver exceptional quality notes.