Tag Archives: Careers

Do You Need a Scribe?

Over the past several decades, new and interesting healthcare roles have been created to reflect the changing complexities of our health care system. We have seen the proliferation of hospitalists, surgicalists and laborists (in-hospital obstetrical specialists) on the physician side, and patient navigators, physician extenders and patient ombudsmen in the non-physician side. Now, there is an additional and intriguing job title that may gain some traction even in the high-tech era of the electronic medical record (EMR): the “medical scribe.”

The medical scribe, also known as a “clinical information manager,” “medical scribe specialist” or “ER/ED scribe,” is a trained medical information manager who specializes in charting physician-patient encounters in real time. Although originally spawned as an adjunct in the emergency medicine environment, this clerical resource is seeing wide-spread use in the inpatient and outpatient/ambulatory care settings.

The use of scribes has exploded in direct relationship to the negative consequences of EMR use.

In the inpatient setting, the time that physicians are spending at the patient bedside has been drastically reduced in order to spend more time with EMR data entry. The same applies to the outpatient, ambulatory or office setting where physician face-time with patients has seen an equally significant reduction, by some estimates by as much as 30 percent! Not only is productivity negatively impacted but the time that physicians spend during a patient visit capturing and entering data rather than focusing on the patient can be a major drag on the overall quality of care, patient satisfaction and revenue generation. Here is where the medical scribe may serve a very important role.

The medical scribe is an unlicensed individual hired to enter information into the EMR or chart at the direction of the physician or licensed independent practitioner. Through the use of medical scribes, organizations can improve the overall quality of documentation for both granularity and specificity; which in turn improves billing and revenue generation. In addition, by shifting the vast majority of real-time documentation responsibility to the scribe, physicians are able to see more patients, generate more revenue and better manage their time overall so that at the end of a busy day there is no need to finalize one’s charts or enter additional data in the EMR – increasing regulatory compliance!

The positive effects created by working with a medical scribe are legion:

Quality of Care Increases
Patient Volume Increases
Revenue Increases
Patient Satisfaction Increases
Physician Satisfaction Increases
Regulatory Compliance Increases

As more and more healthcare organizations look to implement medical scribes two methods of implementation are being used. Some healthcare organizations look to engage a medical scribe management company while others choose the homegrown method. Each option brings with it certain advantages and disadvantages.

By partnering with a medical scribe management company a healthcare organization is typically entering into a multi-year agreement where the scribe management company will recruit, hire, train, manage, monitor and deliver a medical scribe program. The fees for this service typically fall into two categories – a one-time implementation fee to get the program up and running (typically between $25,000 – $100,000 depending upon the size and scope of the program) and a per hour fee for each scribe used (typically in the $20 – $26 per hour range). So for each scribe FTE the healthcare facility is paying about $48,000 per year (using $24/hour). A nice premium over the $10 – $14 per hour a typical scribe earns.

And for those organizations who choose the homegrown method the task of recruiting, hiring, training and developing competent resources in sufficient numbers becomes a bit of a challenge.

But now there is a third option.  The American Healthcare Documentation Professionals Group, a Certified Academic Partner of the American College of Medical Scribe Specialists will partner with you to recruit, hire, train and oversee the use of medical scribes at your facility. Whether you need one or 100 scribes our online/on-site medical scribe training program might be just what the doctor ordered!

The benefits of our program include:

  • No upfront implementation cost.
  • No ongoing per/hour per scribe fee.
  • An all-inclusive training fee of less than $2,000 per scribe which covers each scribes tuition, books, materials, membership in the American College of Medical Scribe Specialists and certification exam.
  • Flexibility to “customize” the training program to meet the specific needs of your facility.

Contact us today if you need a medical scribe or 101?

Clinical Medical Assistant, is it for you?

Certified Clinical Medical Assistant

Maybe it is time to give your career that much needed BOOST, but how?  Think about becoming a Clinical Medical Assistant. The clinical medical assistant is an important healthcare expert who performs tasks related to basic patient care. They are a crucial component to any doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital.  Starting here can open the door to many opportunities for you.

So what are some of the duties of a Clinical Medical Assistant?

Some of the common duties of clinical medical assistants include taking vital signs of patients, conducting in-office screening tests, collecting and preparing specimens to send to diagnostic laboratories, and recording medical histories. Below is a list of some of the other duties a Clinical Medical Assistant may do.

  • Welcoming patients.
  • Answering patient phone calls.
  • Prepare patients for the visit by taking them to the exam room
  • Helping during examinations.
  • Preparing laboratory specimens/basic lab tests.
  • Telephoning prescriptions to pharmacies.
  • Drawing blood.
  • Preparing patients for x-rays.
  • Removing sutures and changing dressings.
  • Explain/Educated patients on treatment procedures, medications, diets, or physicians’ instructions.
  • Applying bandages.
  • Administering medications.
  • Keeping supplies ready and in stock for the office/clinic.
  • Cleaning and sterilizing instruments.
  • Disposing of contaminated material.
  • Maintaining confidential patient information.

So now that we know some of the duties of a Clinical Medical Assistant, what are some of the qualities I should have before deciding on this particular field?

The first thing that comes to mind is compassion and concern for others well being. This job requires you to be understanding to others in their time of need. The ability to listen and give each patient your undivided attention is critical.  You will have to accurately chart patient details and convey that information to the doctor.  Speaking clearly is also an important ability so others can easily understand you. Reading and writing comprehension along with critical thinking skills are preferred in this profession. Clinical Medical Assistants need to have several skills because their general duty is to ensure the office/clinic is running smoothly.

As you can see, a Clinical Medical Assistant is crucial component to any hospital, clinic or doctors office. You can get trained to become a Clinical Medical Assistant is less than a year and the job opportunities are limitless. This is a profession you can be proud of. To learn more about becoming a Clinical Medical Assistant, please visit our Program Overview- Clinical Medical Assistant

  

Electronic Encoders: Friend or Foe?

In today’s day and age, everything seems to be about technology, instant gratification, quicker turn around as well as more for less.  I can say that I have seen and worked within the concept of “more for less” for many years and it just seems to be the nature of our society today, or so it would seem.  So as we look at the transition of health care and the migration of medical records to electronic health records, this has actually managed to create a new vein of career paths in the health care field within our environment, which is great.  Along these same lines now emerges electronic encoders.  It is the opinion of this blog writer that encoders are positive and negative in a few different ways in the coding world for the profession coder and I am going to share why.

Encoders are great tools to help increase production standards because you can save time searching for your codes by having the system do the work for you.  They have built in references that are wonderful to have at your fingertips and not have to leave your work station to locate or search the all mighty web.  Not all working environments give their employees access to the internet so the fact that the encoder programs could possibly provide medical dictionaries, CPT Assistants, drug listings, Coding Clinics, anatomy diagrams, ICD-9 guidelines, and GEM guidelines would be invaluable to the work flow for a coder.  Not to mention the space it would safe from having all of these references in the work space.  Some encoders also come with other administrative functions that assist us to conduct research on specific procedures as well as individual payer information.  So there are some real great benefits that come with an encoder software package, depending on what is purchased and implemented in the working environment.

So you probably are wondering then, why would I even be asking why an encoding product would be a Foe in the world of a coder?  Here is my reason why.  Coding is a skill that we work extremely hard to learn and perfect.  Hours, months and years of time go into learning what we know and how we do what we do in our line of work.  Encoders are a great tool but can also spoil and ruin us as coders, if we allow them to.  If a coder becomes too reliant on an encoder, this is a bad thing.  If a coder becomes to “comfortable” coding with an encoder, this is a bad thing.  A coder needs to use their skills that they have built or they lose these skills over time.  They may not lose them completely but they can become very rusty for sure.  It is good practice to still manually code from time to time.  It is good for the brain to keep your fingers in your coding references so you remember how your books work, where to find everything, keeping your skills fresh on crosswalks and modifiers.

Things to keep in mind is that even if your working environment is using an encoding product, not everything in the coding world is and remember that to maintain your coding certification, you have tom complete continuing education credits.  Many of these continuing education credits are manual coding exercises.  If you look to gain any additional certifications above the certifications you already carry, these will be manual coding exams.  Not to mention, it is really difficult to put your personal coding notes in an encoder program but you have the luxury to place them anywhere you would like in your personal coding reference.

Medical Billing and Coding…..Is it Billing? Is it Coding? How do I choose?

Almost everywhere you turn today you see the combination of Medical Billing and Coding or Medical Coding and Billing tied together in some way shape or form so many people, if they are not familiar with the medical profession may believe that they are one in the same process.  In reality, they are really quite different.  This is a good thing because there are often times that people come into this specialty thinking “I want to be a coder” until they start seeing what exactly the job entails and they quickly realize that this responsibility is not for them so they automatically begin to think “Great, I chose the wrong profession”.  That is not the case.  Not everyone is meant to be a coder and that is perfectly fine to discover.  It takes a special mind set to be able to wrap your brain around all of the concepts and processes that need to take placed to be an effective coder and not everyone fits that bill.

So, if not a coder, what then is there for me to do?  There is the billing aspect of this profession to consider.  Here the responsibilities are just as important as on the coding side of the process because it is the billers that ensure that the claims are properly filled out, correctly submitted to the insurance companies for processing, follow up on outstanding claims that have not been processed by the insurance company, The Medical Biller is responsible for knowing and understanding the parts of the different insurances  in their geographical area, may handle the accounts receivable in a working environment,  work on submission of secondary insurance claims, responsible for correcting and reprocessing rejected claims and the list goes on and on.

There is a whole other world that exists in the medical profession outside of being a coder and that is the Medical Biller.  Now often times, Billers and Coders work closely together to help ensure that claim information is correct to expedite the processing of the claim for proper reimbursement which is a great way for the system to work but to be honest, the system needs both of these parts for the whole process to work as one.  Without one side or the other, you will find that there will be delays, errors, hold ups, mistakes, and all around major problems.

So, have you wondered what Medical billing and coding really is?  Have you ever asked yourself if it was one or two positions?  As you can see from above, there are many more than just two positions that exist in this realm which is great because it provides many different pathways for those that are looking for something different.  If you do not want to be a coder, do not think that this will prevent you from working on this side of the administrative process of the medical profession.  There is more to this profession than just coding.  Research this
and see what the pathways may be.  Billing can provide many different veins for you to take advantage of and the choices are yours to make.

If you are considering a change in career, Billing and Coding may be a great pathway based on the opportunities outlined above.  Now all you have to do is decide where and how you are going to obtain that education you are going to need to move forward on this career decision.  Hopefully you will find that this will help with making your decision in moving forward. What do you have to lose? Not sure coding is for you? Then take that billing course first as it should introduce you to the use of the coding references used in the profession and once through your introduction of the coding material if you find you really liked the coding aspect then look to expand your education  pathway to pick up some coding classes after your billing course is completed. After all, some of the best coders today were billers before they became coders.  Feel free to leave your thought. May you have a Happy New Year and may you make this a New Year’s resolution that you follow through on.