Getting to Know the Virtual Medical Scribes

Getting to Know the Virtual Medical Scribes

Jan 04,2022

Getting to Know the Virtual Medical Scribes

Virtual medical scribes are becoming increasingly popular in recent years as a perfect alternative to traditional medical scribes. Virtual medical scribes assist physicians with real-time EHR documentation, allowing them to provide the best care that patients rightly deserve. Physicians need not divide their attention during patient visits between providing patient care and documenting the encounter, instead focus on patients and get back to what being a physician is all about. Doesn’t it sound intriguing? Let’s get to know what it is all about and the benefits they offer.

What is a virtual medical scribe?

As the name implies, a virtual medical scribe provides real-time documentation assistance virtually. They remotely (from a secured, HIPAA compliant facility) accompany a physician during patient visits, take notes, and document in real-time directly into the EHR. In short, they handle the entire documentation process, allowing physicians to focus on patient care alone.

How does a virtual medical scribe work?

The virtual medical scribe is connected to the exam room, remotely through a secure, HIPAA compliant VOIP connection. They listen to the doctor-patient encounter, take detailed notes, and document it directly into the EHRs. They also enter ICD and CPT codes and assist with e-prescription orders. With the virtual medical scribe documenting the visit in real-time, the physician can focus purely on providing patient care.

The steps involved in the virtual scribing process

The three-step process in virtual medical scribing services

  • Before exam
    • The nurse or the medical assistant greets the patient, guides them to the exam room, takes vitals and medical history, and enters all essential data directly into the EHRs.
    • The virtual medical scribe, who is remotely connected to the exam room via a secure HIPAA compliant VOIP connection, retrieves and reviews the patient’s file.
    • The physician now enters the exam room.
  • During exam
    • The virtual scribe listens to physician-patient interactions, enters notes, CPT/ICD codes, and other relevant details directly into the EHRs.
    • The physician need not perform any data entry tasks, which enhances their focus on providing patient care alone.
  • After exam
    • At the end of the visit the physician may add any additional information or make any changes. The scribe makes the edits as needed and the charts are ready for sign off.
    • The scribe may order e-prescriptions, generate referral letters to specialists, and perform other tasks as instructed by the physician.

The need for virtual medical scribes

It’s no secret that the EHRs failed to deliver what they promised. In-person medical scribes were regarded as an ideal solution to this as they helped offload much of the documentation burden associated with EHRs. Over the years physicians have started to see the downsides of medical scribes, like the high cost involved in hiring and training, lack of privacy in a cramped exam room, and the risk of functional creep. Hence they started to outsource their scribing needs to virtual scribing companies. Virtual scribes thus became the most preferred option as they offered better privacy and confidentiality during patient visits, increased flexibility, lowered costs, and reduced risk of intentional or unintentional functional creep. After the Covid-19 pandemic there seems to be an uptick in the use of virtual scribes as the entire world has started getting more virtual. Moreover, with patients hesitating to visit clinics and most of the in-person scribes being laid-off, virtual medical scribes have become increasingly popular.

Benefits of virtual scribes over physical scribes

Virtual medical scribes boast a number of benefits over traditional medical scribes.

Better privacy and confidentiality

Most patients felt uncomfortable with the scribe present in the exam room. They may refuse the presence of a scribe while being examined or when discussing sensitive health issues. In the case of virtual scribes patients are open and honest in discussing their issues with physicians which led to accurate diagnosis and better health outcomes.

Minimizes chances of functional creep

In the case of physical scribes there is a potential risk of increasing the scribe’s responsibilities, mostly unintentionally, or making them do complex EHR tasks beyond their scope. But as virtual scribes work from a remote location it greatly minimizes the chances of functional creep.

Less training and easy onboarding of new scribes

In the case of physical scribes hiring and training the medical scribes is a tedious and time-consuming process that most physicians hate. The greatest benefit of using a virtual scribe is that reputable scribing companies have highly trained personnel. This simply means that they possess a solid foundation on which they can build on.

Greater flexibility

Virtual scribes can typically work from any remote location. Hence it is a great option for medical practices located in remote and rural areas where access to medical scribes may not be feasible. They can be used on-demand in case you don’t need their services on a regular basis.


In the case of virtual medical scribes, it completely eliminates the need for providing workspace. This ensures cost savings. Moreover, the cost of using the services of virtual scribes is considerably less than that of in-person scribes.

The digital transformation in healthcare has indeed taken the virtual medical scribing industry by storm. Moreover, with the covid-19 pandemic outbreak and most medical practices shifting to telemedicine services to limit interpersonal contacts many healthcare organizations have made the switch from in-person to virtual scribe services. Virtual scribes participate in telemedicine appointments and help with documentation and improve physician-patient relationships.

Are you a physician who feels that excessive administrative tasks reduce focus on more important clinical activities? Not anymore. Our scribes can decrease your documentation burden, improve workflow efficiency and enhance visit interactions. Get in touch with Scribe4Me. We provide both virtual scribing and offline scribing services. You can choose the one that fits your needs and practice.

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