The documentation and regulatory stress doctors experience using Electronic Health Records has led to the rapid growth of the medical scribe industry. It stands to reason, you want to find the best medical scribe company for your organization so you can see an increase in productivity, documentation accuracy, and doctor/patient satisfaction. The first step in creating your medical scribe program is deciding on a scribe partner. There are certain criteria you should evaluate when making this decision:
- Training. Medical scribes are not mandated to be licensed, although there are voluntary certification programs a scribe can enroll in. Look for a medical scribe company that recruits graduates from top schools and hires tech savvy individuals to clinically train. Your scribe should come to you trained for your specific documentation needs. This includes an understanding of the patients you typically treat and the medical terminology specific to your specialty. Ask your partner about their training. How many hours do their scribes spend in training? Is their training general or specialty-specific? Do they utilize mock appointment scenarios in training? How are they evaluated upon completion of training? Do you they have supervision from a veteran scribe when starting out?
- Customization of program. All healthcare organizations are unique. You will want a partner who will create a HIPAA-compliant program that is modeled on the documentation needs of your practice. Ask your potential scribe partner about how they will create and then implement your medical scribe program. Ask them what their implementation timeline looks like and if they provide a no-risk trial (like Scribekick does), so you can evaluate whether a scribe would benefit your practice.
- Skillset match. Having a well trained, HIPAA-compliant scribe is important, but so is making sure your scribe is the right personality and skill set fit for your practice or organization. Choose a vendor that understands how important workplace chemistry is for your organization. Scribekick does this by clearly understanding the personalities, assets, and scheduling needs of our scribes. We also get a very clear understanding of our clients’ needs and match scribe to organization/practice accordingly. There is nothing random in how our scribes end up working with you.
- Flexibility and responsiveness. Once a scribe becomes an integral part of your workflow, going without them will be a hardship. Look for a scribe partner who can provide alternate scribes in case of sickness, vacation, or other downtime for your regular scribes. Ask them about their missed shift rate and get references from existing clients.
- Cost transparency. A primary reason you’re bringing in a scribe is to help with cost savings through more accurate and speedy billing. Make sure your scribe partner is transparent with their fees so you have no surprises.For example, at Scribekick, we charge a fixed hourly fee with no upfront or setup costs.
Tracking program performance. One reason you want to use medical scribes is for cost savings and efficiency. Make sure your scribe partner understands how your team works and what metrics really matter to you. A great scribe partner will monitor your metrics for you and offer options for adjustments to continue to improve your ROI.
- Tracking scribe performance. Once you have a scribe on board the training doesn’t end. Ask your potential scribe partner how they will monitor individual scribe performance on an ongoing basis. Will they implement chart audits? How will they handle a scribe who is not meeting your needs or standards? Do they provide ongoing training?
Ongoing management. You’ll want to ensure your scribe program runs smoothly. Ask your potential scribe partner who will manage your program. You’ll need an experienced staffing team to make sure no shifts are missed, and you are always fully staffed. You’ll also want to make sure this staffing team monitors training and compliance issues.
Hiring a medical scribe partner will ease many burdens for your physicians and the rest of your team, but choosing the wrong partner can lead to ongoing problems. You’ve made the decision to create a scribe program because you want to make your organization more efficient. Taking the time to choose the right partner is as important as making the decision to create a scribe program.