Requirements and Tips to Become a Medical Scribe in the USA

A medical scribe, “Transcriptionists” is a healthcare professional that performs patient documentation and clerical tasks not only in an electronic health record system but also manually records information in patient charts on behalf of a physician. The name of scribe changes according to the medical department because they can be found not only in old physician practices and hospitals but also in outpatient practices of podiatry, cardiography, neurosurgery, dermatology and many more. They may also be called clinical scribe, ED (Emergency Department) scribe, Virtual medical scribes etc.

medical scribe

Duties of Medical Scribes

A Medical Scribe is a physician’s helper. The fundamental duties of a medical scribe are

  1. To help with patients’ aptitude.
  2. To create and maintain sequential records of patient medical history, physician interaction schedule with patients, tests performed, lab results, medicine time etc. in an HRE system.
  3. To notify the physician when studies are finished.
  4. To train newly hired Medical Scribes.
  5. To maintain hygienic and professional working surroundings.
  6. To facilitate diagnostic tests, patient appointments and referrals to medical specialists.
  7. To manage an average number of patients per hour between 2 and 4.

Qualification required for becoming a medical scribe

  1. Pursue an education – The main requirement for becoming a medical scribe is to complete high school especially in subjects like biology and English to understand basic human anatomy and to develop business communication skills. Apart from that, a bachelor’s degree in healthcare is preferred.
  2. Gain relevant experience – Both online and offline training programs are available for becoming a medical scribe. These training programs not only provide necessary medical knowledge and terminology but also provide the on-job experience. Anyone can become an Apprentice Medical Scribe Professional within 14 weeks after completing the medical scribe training program.
  3. Acquire certification – Certification is not the fundamental need. The certificates surely provide a competitive edge not only in hiring but also in promotion and make you more suitable to employers. Some certification are
    • Certified Medical Scribe Associate (CMSA)
    • Certified Medical Scribe Specialist (CMSS)
    • Medical Scribe Certification and Aptitude Test (MSCAT)
    • Certified Medical Scribe Professional (CMSP)
    • Apprentice Medical Scribe  Professional (AMSP)
  1. Create resume – Prepare a resume that includes the highest level of education, training, skills and work history including the employers’ name, role in company and responsibilities related to the role of medical scribe.
  2. Apply for a job – Search for a medical scribe job in your geographical area and apply with a newly prepared resume.

Medical Scribe Job Environment

 A medical scribe is a person who is trained in both health information management and use of health information technology. According to the requirement of physician, a medical scribe is capable of working either on-site at a clinic or hospital or off site from a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) secure facility with following characteristics

  1. Long periods of time standing.
  2. Get in touch with handheld electronic medical devices and work on computers.
  3. Regular communication with patients, attendants, physicians, nurses, housekeeping staff and other administrative staff.
  4. To monitor the progress of testing.

Essential skills required for becoming a good medical scribe

A medical doctor should possess the following skills to become a good medical scribe and achieve a fast paced growth in career.

  1. Computer Skills – Medical scribes must have high typing speed because they perform multiple tasks apart from computer use such as listening to others, taking notes while a physician moves between talking to the patients and instructing notes and findings to include in the chart.
  2. Organizational Skills – Medical scribes must possess strong organizational skills to follow up on lab testing, medication orders and to maintain medical records on time.
  3. Attentive & Listening Skills – Strong attention to detail is required to become a good medical scribe because a little mistake on a patients’ chart may create danger to their health. Excellent listening skills are required to swiftly catch and prepare notes from the physician conversation without an error.
  4. Medical Knowledge – A medical scribe must have an awareness of medical terminology and basic human anatomy.
  5. Excellent Communication Skills – A medical scribe should have excellent verbal and non-verbal skills to communicate and work diligently with nurses, lab technicians and physicians.
  6. Physical Stamina – Medical scribes have to stand and work for long time durations without feeling tired. So, they must be able to maintain high energy levels to stay attentive and be prepared for anything.
  7. Time Management – This is a crucial skill to help scribes to keep organized and to match the schedule on time.

Salary

Salaries of medical scribes can vary depending on a wide range of factors such as clinical specialty, years of experience, city and practice settings. Experienced emergency department scribes who work in hectic environments or Chief or Head Scribes generally have high salaries between $30 and $40 per hour.

In the USA, a medical scribe can expect to earn between $9 and $15 per hour. The average salary of medical scribes per year ranges between $18,000 and $37,000 with a national average of $20,000. The average salary of medical scribes in some of the popular states of the USA is – 

  1. NEW YORK – $30,013
  2. BUFFALO – $32,500
  3. NEW JERSEY – $29,073
  4. CALIFORNIA -$30,448
  5. LOS ANGELES – $33,085
  6. OREGON – $32,338
  7. MINNESOTA -$29,501
  8. BLOOMINGTON -$28,923
  9. TEXAS – $27,977
  10.  DALLAS AND SAN ANTONIO -$26,435

Future Scope

A medical scribe is a physician collaborator who fulfills the basic non-medical and clerical functions of the physician or practitioner. The demand for Medical Scribes is growing rapidly in the USA because health care providers feel the advantages of what medical scribes provide to their business. The career trajectory of a medical scribe may be zigzag.

Medical scribe can become a senior scribe, trainer, member of the management team or a quality assurance specialist after earning promotions or may become nurse or even doctors after further education in some cases. So, it is a good entry level career option. In the USA, not only physicians or hospitals hire medical scribes but also medical scribe employment agencies also employ them. Some of the major medical scribe companies in the USA are ScribeAmerica, ProScribe, Elite Medical Scribes, American Scribes, PhysAssist Scribes and ScribeKick.

Robyn Matthews
Robyn Matthews started writing about technology when she was far too young and hasn't stopped. She spends most of his time obsessing over computer software and hardware, and loves talking about herself in third person.