The Challenge of Having Nurses and MAs Work as Medical Scribes

  • Added:
    Mar 12, 2013
  • Article Views:
  • Word Count:
Nurse watching over expectant mother
Nurse watching over expectant mother
Photo by timefornurses

The Challenge of Having Nurses and MAs Work as Medical Scribes

I had the pleasure of attending one of Karen Zupko's conferences this past weekend in Nashville, TN.  (If you don't know about Ms. Zupko and the great work she and her team do, take a minute to visit their website at

One thing we at Physicians Angels are noticing is that more and more clinics are using medical scribes, or are considering it seriously.  Just a year ago, we found many doctors were unfamiliar with the concept of a medical scribe -- virtual or on-site at a hospital or clinic.  That appears to be changing quickly though.

Doctors have heard about medical scribes either through direct contact with them working in hospital EDs, or read about medical scribes in the growing body of literature about them or through word-of-mouth from other physicians employing them successfully.  Healthcare professionals are realizing the many upsides to having a scribe help them manage patient data to ensure efficient and productive use of their practice's EMR software.

However, in too many cases the medical "scribes" we hear about are really nurses or MAs. While doing $15/hour data entry work is not productive use of a $200+/hour doctor's time, neither is EMR data entry ideal for nurses or MAs.  It takes them away from patient intake and care.  Several groups have begun to use Physicians Angels' virtual medical scribe service after having experimented unsuccessfully with their nurses and MAs working as medical scribes.

If you are thinking of using medical scribes in your practice, it would help to think of them as highly-trained, HIPAA-compliant data managers for your EMR; while your nurses and MAs are patient care managers.  Physicians Angels' medical scribes handle your data care in real-time, while freeing up your staff to handle patient care -- and generate more revenue and allow everyone to get home at a decent hour.

We designed our Virtual Medical Scribe service based on research showing that EHRs increase data-entry time and medical office staffing cost, without demonstrating real gains in a doctor’s productivity.  We felt EHRs end up converting the most expensive labor – doctors and nurses – into low-paid, data-entry personnel.  Add to this the high cost of EHR software programs, and Physicians Angels identified a growing market need for data management personnel.

Kevin Brady
President, Physicians Angels
email = kbrady at

For More Details:

Author's Profile

Please Rate this Article
Poor Excellent