Have you heard about medical scribes? They’re one of those hidden heroes of healthcare who work behind the scenes to ensure all essential details are documented during patient visits. If you’re curious about how to work from home as a medical scribe, this post has you covered!
If you’re looking for a new career path and want to consider the healthcare field, see if becoming a medical scribe is the right fit for you.
What Are the Job Duties of a Medical Scribe?
Medical scribes dictate in real-time what physicians and healthcare providers say during medical encounters with patients. This work can be done in person or virtually and require an in-depth knowledge of medical terminology and anatomy, excellent communication skills, and fast and accurate typing skills.
Here are some typical day-to-day duties of a medical scribe:
- Listen and document in real-time medical encounters between medical providers and patients.
- Properly document the patient’s history, assessment, plan of care, and follow-up instructions in the EHR (electronic health record).
- Ensure the privacy of sensitive patient information.
- Access lab and radiology results for the healthcare providers.
- Medical scribes may assist in coding medical diagnoses and procedures in some clinics.
- Some companies may have medical scribes listen to audio files and provide medical transcription services; however, this is rare.
Medical scribes work in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, medical offices, and from home. The shifts you’ll work will vary depending on your work environment. If you’re working for a doctor whose hours of operation are Monday – Friday from 9:00-5:00, these are the hours that you’ll generally work. However, if you’re working for a hospital, they are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; in this case, you may have an unpredictable work schedule.
What is the Compensation for a Medical Scribe?
According to data provided by Intuit TurboTax, the median salary for a medical scribe is $24,000 annually. Salary.com estimates that medical scribes earn around $18 per hour. While medical scribes don’t earn a ton of money, they often have a lot of flexibility, being able to work full-time, part-time, PRN (as needed), and from home. Some companies may even provide in-house training and benefits to full-time workers.
Is It Hard to Be a Medical Scribe?
Before learning how to be a medical scribe, it’s a good idea to see if you’re a good fit. While most of the jobs will require training, there are some key skills you’ll need to be successful in this role.
- Time Management – This is a fast-paced career where you’ll often work with many providers, and you’ll need to provide accurate documentation. Most medical scribes must type at least 40-60 WPM (words per minute).
- Attention to Detail – Since your documentation reflects someone’s health, it needs to be accurate. You’ll need to listen and quickly type out precisely what is being said.
- Tech-Savvy – You’re going to be working on a computer using EHR software, so you’ll need to be computer-savvy and have the ability to adapt to different programs and software systems.
- Bedside Manner – If you’re interacting directly with patients, you need to be able to show empathy and patience. You might be helping them navigate the paperwork and need to be able to give clear instructions.
- Excellent Communication – You’ll be in contact with many different departments and healthcare professionals. Being able to clearly and concisely document without spelling and grammar errors is crucial. If you’re bilingual, this will be an asset as there are many companies looking for bilingual medical scribes.
What Are the Benefits of Working as a Medical Scribe?
If you’re weighing the pros and cons of whether or not this job is right for you, here are some of the key benefits of working as a medical scribe.
Gain Medical Experience
The healthcare industry is full of many different medical specialties and salaries. If you’re looking to dip your toes in or know you want to pursue a career in medicine, learning how to become a medical scribe is a good place to start. You can shadow physicians and work alongside them or at a distance.
Compared to many other healthcare careers, being a medical scribe is less stressful. You’re working primarily behind the scenes and focusing on administrative and documentation tasks instead of providing patient care.
Medical scribes are one of the unique healthcare careers that can be done in a remote environment. Being able to work from home offers flexible work hours and schedules. As long as you have a private space to work and respect patients’ privacy, you’re all set to work.
And yes, medical scribes are in high demand! Federal law requires medical providers to use EHR to store medical data for patients. However, many doctors have a difficult time focusing on filling out the EHR while delivering care to their patients. This is where medical scribes come in, filling out the forms while the clinician focuses on patient encounters.
What Training Do You Need to Become a Virtual Medical Scribe?
You have a few options when it comes to becoming a medical scribe.
In some cases, companies will provide in-house training. All you need is a high school diploma or GED, excellent communication skills, a typing speed of 40-60 WPM, and a passion for the medical industry.
But more often than not, workplaces will give preference to students taking a pre-health career track, individuals with a certification in EHR, or those with healthcare job experience (like a medical transcriptionist or a medical assistant). Remember, for this role, you’ll need to be familiar with medical terminology and human anatomy, which usually requires training, education, or work experience in the medical field.
You can also take an online training course that will teach you the fundamental skills and education to become a medical scribe. CareerStep is a leading industry-recognized healthcare training provider. Their medical scribe training can be completed online in a couple of months; however, you have up to eight months to complete the course. Once you’re done, you’ll be prepared to take the Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS) exam and ready to enter the workplace upon completion. For more information on their medical scribe training program, head here.
Where Can You Find Remote Positions?
If you want to work from home as a medical scribe, there are many legitimate companies to explore! While I included some below, you can also explore job board sites like FlexJobs (which screens listings for legitimacy) or Indeed and LinkedIn.
If you’re using the latter, be sure you’re screening job postings for legitimacy, as the big job boards often have scammers and imposters posing as real companies. Make sure to verify the job posting on the company’s website and make sure emails from the company contain their domain name. For more scam prevention tips, check out this post.
Athreon hires part-time and full-time scribes who are based in the United States. For these virtual positions, you must have medical scribe training or six months of experience. Athreon offers competitive pay and benefits to full-time employees.
- 3.4 star rating on Glassdoor.com
DeepScribe hires part-time and full-time remote medical scribes. To apply, you must have a high school diploma, a typing speed of 40 WPM, an Apple computer (this is what their software is compatible with), and a hard-wired or wifi connectivity with a download speed minimum of 5.0 Mbps. These are independent contracting roles with a starting pay rate of $10 per hour. DeepScribe offers 3-hour shifts, flexible scheduling, and a paid training bonus. Experienced medical scribes earn a starting wage of $12-$14 per hour.
- 3.6 star rating on Glassdoor.com
iScribeHealth hires virtual medical scribes at a rate of $11 per hour. After 30-days, you’ll be paid per chart completed. There’s not a lot of information about qualifications needed, but it looks like they’ll provide training in the first 30-days.
- 3.3 star rating on Glassdoor.com
Nuance hires work-from-home scribes in the US and India. For this remote position, you must have experience in the healthcare field and familiarity with medical terminology. Nuance offers competitive wages and benefits to full-time employees.
- 4-star rating on Glassdoor.com
ProScribe hires bilingual (Spanish/English) virtual scribes in the following states: AL, GA, IA, ID, IN, KY, LA, MS, NC, ND, NH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, WI, and WY. To be considered for these positions, you must have a high school diploma or GED, the ability to pass a background check, excellent communication skills, a typing speed of 45 WPM, and be tech-savvy. ProScibe offers paid training ($9-$12) per hour; preference is given to job candidates with a college healthcare track and knowledge of medical terminology. Lots of room for advancement, and full-time positions come with benefits.
- 3.2 star rating on Glassdoor.com
Vesta Healthcare hires remote bilingual medical scribes. Applicants must have a certification as a medical assistant or medical scribe and two years of experience. The starting pay is $18 per hour, and you must have the ability to work nights and weekends.
- 4-star rating on Glassdoor.com
Vituity hires experienced medical scribes to work from home. These positions are full-time and come with benefits. They also have in-person positions where they’ll provide training for these roles; however, you must be willing to make a one-year commitment.
- 3.9 star rating on Glassdoor.com
If you’re looking for a work-from-home entry-level career in the healthcare field and you enjoy data entry work, becoming a medical scribe might be your calling. With multiple options to break into the industry, you can start working from home as a scribe relatively quickly.
While the pay isn’t great, there is room for growth and advancement! Who knows, maybe this career will spark your interest in other medical occupations like nursing or medical coding and billing — both of which have remote offerings in their respective fields!