July 22, 2024

Virtual Medical Scribe VS On-Site Medical Scribe – 5 Main Differences

  • May 4, 2022
  • 6 min read
Virtual Medical Scribe VS On-Site Medical Scribe – 5 Main Differences

Doctors play a very important role in keeping people healthy and feeling great. They help us when we are sick, injured, and help us better understand why we feel the way we feel. Unfortunately, many doctors don’t spend nearly as much time with their patients as they would prefer. 

In fact, physicians spend a lot of time on administrative tasks, often 20 hours a week or more. This limits the amount of time they can spend with their patients. While there are many ways this time spent on mundane and administrative tasks can be reduced, one of the best is using a medical scribe.

These are essentially individuals that capture and record important information in a doctor/patient meeting. By recording this documentation, it ensures doctors don’t need to do it themselves, and ensures nothing important from the encounter is missed or forgotten.

While a physical medical scribe is the preferred option for some offices, many others prefer a remote medical scribe.  This person will do the same things and have the same responsibilities, but will simply work remotely.

Both can be good options, but aren’t as similar as you might think. With that in mind, this article is going to go over five of the main differences between a virtual medical scribe and a medical scribe that works in the physical doctors office.

There is a Cost Difference

First and foremost, there is often a cost difference between a virtual scribe and one that works on-site. In most cases, in-person scribes will cost more than ones that work virtually. Those working in the office will need their own space, their own desk, and their own computer and gear, all of which will cost money.

Virtual scribes will often use their own equipment, and you won’t need to worry about them being the reason you need to pay for a larger office. Also, many virtual scribes may come from areas where the cost of living is lower than where your doctor’s office is, and may be willing to work for less than what you would have to pay those working in person.

Virtual Scribes Can Save Space

Another difference is in terms of the space that each scribe will take up. Physical scribes will require a lot of room in the office, which can lead to some adjustment in how the space is laid out. They will need a place to sit and work, and with many doctors offices already being a little cramped, finding the necessary space isn’t always easy.

On the other hand, if you work with remote medical scribes, you won’t need to provide them with any additional space in the office. Not only does this have the potential to save money as we mentioned earlier, but it ensures that these people don’t get in the way, and give doctors a lot more space and freedom within their offices. As long as there is some device in the room so that the virtual scribe can hear what is going on, they will be good to go.

Virtual Scribes Might Make Patients More Comfortable

When many people go to the doctor, they get a little uncomfortable. In fact, being uncomfortable is among the main reasons why people don’t go to the doctor, even when they may need to. As a result, doctors need to try to make the experience as comfortable as possible.

And for some, having a third individual in the office with them in the doctor is the furthest thing from being comfortable. As a result, having your scribe work virtually can ensure people don’t feel awkward, and can be completely open and honest in your meetings.

While there is still technically a person listening to everything, there is still the perception of privacy and most patients will feel less judged and uncomfortable with no one else in the room. This helps build a stronger relationship between  doctor and patient, as they can be put at ease not having to worry about another person physically being in the office.

Quicker Onboarding and Training With Virtual Scribes

The process for onboarding and training medical scribes is also different between physical and virtual. This is because many online medical scribes who you hire will either be part of a larger network of scribes, and will thus have already been trained in many cases.

While you may need to provide them with specific information, requests, or requirements, they will generally have a very solid foundation of knowledge and skills to do a good job. This will cut down the amount of energy it takes to get the person up to speed.

However, when you hire someone in-person, there is a chance that they will need to be trained right from scratch, with limited knowledge on being a medical scribe. Not only does this training and onboarding take time and effort, but can also be expensive in some cases, especially if you are experiencing high amounts of turnover.

Often Better Morale and Work-Life Balance for Virtual Scribes

Another difference often comes down to the moral and work-life balance of workers. Happy workers are often better workers and if someone has higher morale, they will often deliver better results at work. While there is nothing inherently wrong with working as an in-person scribe, it can be more challenging than working virtually and could lead to a worse work-life balance.

A big reason for this is functional creep. In an office setting, many employees will see their responsibilities grow over time, even if it goes beyond what they are paid to do. This means many scribes may begin to be asked to take on additional work, when they shouldn’t be.

Also, many people simply prefer to work from home where they are more comfortable, can wear what they want, and don’t have to spend a lot of time and gas money on their commute. 

In conclusion, we hope that this article has been able to help you learn some of the main differences between virtual and on-site medical scribes.

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