The federal mandate to adopt the EHR system has put patient information at doctors’s fingertips. However, doctors feel tethered to computers and navigating through EHR screens as they demand a substantial amount of time for charting and clerical-type data entry. In order to help doctors with the clerical duties of record-keeping, hospitals hire medical scribes. Basically, traditional medical scribes accompany doctors during patient visits and document every bit of information into the EHR.  Many hospitals prefer to hire medical scribes remotely from countries like India to connect with doctors via a highly secure internet connection and document patient encounters, in real-time.

How do you become a medical scribe?

If you are aspiring to take up a career as a medical scribe, you need to satisfy the following requirements.

High school diploma: To become a medical scribe, one has to have at least a high school diploma or an equivalent. However, some hospitals may require that you have a related certification or a college degree.

Certification: You can take up a medical scribe course, either online or at a local college. On successfully clearing the certification exams, you will be awarded a certificate of completion. Certification sets you apart from other applicants when competing for a job at a reputed scribing company.

Relevant experience: Any previous experience in the field of healthcare could be an added advantage when intending to apply for the job as a medical scribe. This may include volunteering in healthcare settings, a shadowing opportunity with a healthcare provider, or indulging in community service.

What are the skills needed to become a medical scribe?

Effective listening and comprehension skills: Medical scribes must have a keen ear to quickly decipher what is being said and simultaneously enter all relevant details into the EHR. Meaning they need to possess great listening skills. Not just sharp listening, but comprehensive listening to interpret and make notes of each patient encounter without any errors.

An eye for detail: Meticulous attention to detail is important to capture all the information and make sure it is entered correctly into the EHR. Even a small error on the patient’s chart could prove detrimental to their health. In short, a medical scribe should be an excellent listener and punctilious too.

Computer competency: Scribes need to multitask. They need to listen in to patient encounters, while also entering the notes accurately into the EHR. This means they need to possess excellent typing as well as data entry skills. Besides, they should also be capable of navigating through the database to retrieve any information that the physician may ask for at any time.

Knowledge in medical terminology: Medical scribes should possess an in-depth and thorough knowledge of medical terminology. They should also be able to understand the medical jargon and slang that the doctor may often use. Moreover, a good grasp of medical terms ensures that the medical scribe is less likely to make any errors in the documentation.

Good use of time: Good time management skills are important to accompany the physician during patient visits, whether in-person or over an audio/video call. The medical scribes need to manage their shifts based on the doctor’s schedule. Even their breaks should coincide with the doctor’s schedule. Hence excellent time management skills are important to stay organized and keep on track.

Commitment to confidentiality: A serious commitment to protecting the data they handle is an essential quality. Medical scribes should demonstrate an ability to maintain confidentiality and privacy as per HIPAA law.  They should bear in mind that their work entails dealing with sensitive health information and hence observe privacy and confidentiality.

Stay motivated and dedicated: Medical scribes are expected to push themselves to continually learn and progress in areas like medical reasoning, EHR competency, and typing speed. Effective time management skills are crucial when meeting deadlines and handling competing priorities.

Working as a medical scribe could be challenging, yet highly rewarding. While the above-discussed skills are necessary to become a medical scribe, some of these skills can be acquired over time through practice and dedication. If you are interested in becoming a medical scribe, just go for it. Pursue your education, get the training, obtain the needed certifications, and now you are all set to go!

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