Virtual Medical Scribing vs Traditional Medical Scribing: Pros and Cons

Virtual Medical Scribing vs Traditional Medical Scribing - Pros and Cons

Executive Summary:

Operating a medical practice is a complex task. There is too much to accomplish, including seeing patients, managing administrative duties, and producing clinical paperwork. Hiring a digital or virtual medical scribe may save time and ensure your patient paperwork is current and available whenever needed. This article will explain in detail what Virtual Medical Scribing / virtual scribing software and Traditional Medical Scribing are, their benefits and drawbacks, and how to choose the best for your business.

What is a virtual medical scribe or a digital scribe?

A digital medical scribe is an artificial intelligence (AI) instrument that transcribes patient-centered conversations to create automatic medical documentation. It replaces the traditional duty of clinical documentation by producing thorough client reports using speech recognition and natural language processing.

The market for AI software is expected to reach $62 billion in 2022 as the application of artificial intelligence rises yearly. As a result, more businesses and people than ever before are utilizing AI. As errors could have serious repercussions, many individuals are cautious about trusting AI in a healthcare environment.

What is Traditional Medical Scribing or a traditional scribe?

A traditional medical scribe is a doctor’s assistant who records conversations between doctors and patients and updates patient records in real-time. Also, they facilitate the doctor’s job by organizing all patient data before appointments and guaranteeing that all paperwork is always accurate.

Depending on the doctor’s requirements, they frequently have other administrative duties. You can pick between an in-office scribe and virtual scribing software when using traditional medical scribes. Traditionals who work independently or for a corporation that outsources them to medical offices virtually are known as virtual scribes.

Tasks of medical scribes

Below is a summary of some key duties that scribes, whether digital or traditional, must carry out.

Transcribe during appointments

Numerous medical scribes are present to take real-time notes during patient visits and examinations. Before the session, they are in charge of acquiring patient records, and they must ensure that crucial conversations are documented so that client information may be updated later. In addition, they must use and comprehend medical terminology to take notes that are as precise and clear as feasible.

It is maintained and updates medical records.

Electronic health records (EHR) and conventional medical charts are commonly used in physician practices. However, since patient histories and other important health information must be updated and maintained swiftly and properly, medical scribes must be able to work on various applications.

They must also keep the records in the database for easy access by doctors and provide all documentation to the doctor for inspection and approval.

Interact with patients

Patients will occasionally need to be contacted following appointments to answer any questions. However, to offer consumers great clinical care, they can quickly escalate it to the proper individual if they don’t know the solution to a certain inquiry.

Perform administrative tasks

Other administrative and secretarial tasks are frequently expected, including returning phone calls and emails, setting up appointments, arranging travel for the doctor, ordering supplies, and others.

Traditional scribe vs digital scribe

The following are some main advantages and drawbacks of virtual scribing software and live scribes.

Pros of digital scribing

Enhanced Privacy Perception

The patient and clinician can be alone in the exam room because virtual scribes remotely listen to the patient’s interaction. This increases the patient’s sense of privacy, which is particularly advantageous for people who feel uneasy with an extra set of eyes and ears in the room.

Patients more at ease are inherently more honest and upfront about their health concerns, improving diagnosis precision and patient outcomes.

Modularity of Service

Virtual scribing software is an excellent choice for medical practices in isolated or rural areas when access to onsite scribes is constrained because they can work from any remote location.

Also, many virtual scribing services offer on-demand coverage for absences brought on by illness or vacation, reducing the scheduling difficulties associated with hiring medical scribes onsite.

medical transcription software

Cons of digital scribing


A virtual scribe is far less expensive than an onsite scribe, yet each clinician costs $1200 monthly. Furthermore, due to the significant turnover in the scribing profession, practices must incur additional expenses to find and onboard a replacement.

Insufficient standardized training

Due to the vast range of expertise levels caused by the need for uniform training, there is a large disparity between scribes’ notes for identical patient encounters.

Pros of traditional scribing

Increases revenue: 

Medical scribes enable doctors to visit more patients in less time. As a result, the more patients a doctor serves, the more money a hospital or clinic makes.

Face-to-Face Communication

One of the most important things to consider when weighing the benefits and drawbacks of hiring medical scribes is their direct contact with your patients. Despite the industry’s rapid transition to telehealth, patients still demand traditional interaction when they visit a medical facility. In addition, a medical scribe can assess the patient’s emotions, something a computer program cannot.

Cons of traditional scribing 

Traditional Scribers are limited in their abilities.

While using a scribe can help a doctor be more productive, there are some activities that a scribe cannot complete, such as entering orders for medicines, X-rays, and testing.

Potential to stifle improvements in EHR.

Working with scribes might benefit doctors and hospitals in the near term, but it might also stifle technological advancements in EHRs and endanger patients.

The last say:

In conclusion, there are many advantages and disadvantages when deciding between a traditional scribe and a virtual one. Virtual scribes are a more practical substitute for traditional medical scribes in many clinics because of their lower total cost, the flexibility of service, and patient-centered interactions.


What are the drawbacks of becoming a scribe?

If they are not properly trained, some scribes might not understand the intricacies of documentation to record everything appropriately. To ensure that the documentation and notes from each visit are appropriately entered, the physician must check and sign them.

Which is the ideal certification for medical scribes?

The most popular certification among medical scribes is Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians bestows this qualification. The progress in your ability to do your work is demonstrated by this certification, which is fantastic to have.

What distinguishes a virtual scribe from a medical scribe?

A virtual medical scribe performs all of the same duties as a traditional one, with one significant exception: they are not physically need to be present in the room. A virtual medical scribe performs all of the functions of a traditional medical scribe in any setting, including a doctor’s office, an outpatient clinic, or an operating room.

What distinguishes medical coding from scribing?

Medical scribing is an onsite employment that needs one to record the specifics of a medical visit. In contrast, medical coding translates medical services into codes that may be used to bill insurance companies and other entities.

What is a medical scribe’s alternate name?

Medical scribe, physician scribe, clinical scribe, and healthcare scribe are more general terms for a medical scribe. Remote medical scribes may be virtual, tile scribes, or remote scribes.

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