"This is one of those rare things that really will make your physicians appreciate what you are doing," said Mulvey. "This is a service you can provide to physicians that will help retain them and make them happy while you are driving up their productivity."
Mulvey says his organization saw a 25 to 30% reduction in productivity after its EHR system was implemented. With physicians being an expensive and limited resource, scribes can be a low-cost solution to help strengthen efficiency.
While scribes are becoming an accepted part of the medical team in most places, there can be initial reticence in some quarters. Mulvey has observed that some physicians have had some issues giving up documentation control to another person.
Pushback has been the exception in Murphy's experience. "We have a very large supporting base and people understand that they want to provide better care and have happy physicians," said Murphy. "95% of the time we have no resistance."
While the position pays relatively little—the national average hourly rate for a medical scribe is $12.92 per hour, according to PayScale.com—and turnover is high, the position has the potential to be more than just a stepping stone, says Murphy.
"There [are] career EMTs, paramedics, medical assistants and all these different things," said Murphy. "People are becoming more aware of the medical scribe profession, and enjoy working with providers in that intimate kind of sending, and I think it will become a long term career path."
The need for scribes appears ripe for growth as more regulations come online. "As ICD-10 comes and there more requirements in terms of documentation and reimbursement, I think they have a very bright future," says Donner.