Are Scribes Healthcare Workers?

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With the advancement in technology,
more sophisticated systems have seen
their way in our daily lives. They have
penetrated all the industries, and
healthcare is no different. Instead of
the traditional manual record-keeping
systems, hospitals, clinics, emergency
care, and home care centers are now
using sophisticated electronic health
record, EHR systems. These make work
easier since it is possible to sort
information in a manner that allows
easier retrieval and categorization. But
even so, they too come with their set
of disadvantages.
The doctor is always glued on the
screen, keying in information, even
while the patient is speaking. This does
not create a very good impression on
the part of the patient because they
feel the attention is inadequate. This is
where virtual medical scribes come in;
to take the doctor’s eyes from the
computer screen and accord their full
attention to the patient in front of
them. So now back to our question; are
scribes healthcare providers? This
question can be answered by
differentiating a medical scribe from a
healthcare provider.
• Job description
A medical scribe is not a healthcare
provider because their job description
differs from that of a healthcare
provider. Although they may be
virtually or physically present during a
medical examination, medical scribes
are not involved in any way with
patients. Their work is just to take
notes, charts and document them in
the EHR. As a matter of fact, as a
patient, you may even not notice their
presence even if they are physically
present during the examination. But
for a healthcare provider, they will
conduct the examination and tend to
your health needs.
• Dress code
When it comes to dressing code, it may
be almost impossible to spot them
amid other healthcare providers. This is
because they dress in the same attire
or scrubs to that of healthcare
providers. You will only notice them
when they start typing on the
computers during the medical
examination. But this is where the
scribe is physically present in the
examination room.
• Qualifications
Medical scribes are extensively trained
in handling medical health information
and the use of different electronic
health record programs. Although they
are not bound by any codes of ethics,
medical scribes should adhere to the
same ethics and codes practiced by
healthcare providers such as doctors.
For this reason, they are expected to
behave professionally and maintain the
utmost privacy of information.
Doctors on the other hand must have a
degree or diploma in the wide field of
medicine which sees them spend 3 or
more years in universities and medical
schools. Doctors are strictly bound by
certain ethics and codes that govern
the profession. Now, although they
work hand in hand, it is conclusively
fair to say that medical scribes are not
healthcare providers.

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