Medical Scribe Vendor Raises $2.5M

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EMR Medical Scribe“The scribe industry is in a boom time,” Dr. David Strumpf explained in a phone interview.

EMR Medical Scribe“The scribe industry is in a boom time,” Dr. David Strumpf explained in a phone interview.

Strumpf is an emergency physician and the CEO of Emergency Medicine Scribe Systems, a California company that hires, trains and manages medical scribes deployed across the country. He implemented a scribe system in the 30-physician medical group he’s part of more than a decade ago, and decided a few years ago to turn it into a business for outside clients.

Despite somewhat of a slow start, California-based EMSS now sees 30 percent to 40 percent growth annually, Strumpf said. It has just closed a $2.5 million Series A investment round and is hoping to up the growth rate even higher to 50 percent in the coming years.

As the majority of providers continue to push forward with EMR implementation, scribes can take some of the administrative workload off of physicians’ shoulders, allowing them to spend more quality time with patients. And as patient satisfaction is becoming an increasingly important metric for physicians, having a scribe to chart patient encounters into the EMR, generate referral letters and help with e-prescribing seems to be quite a value proposition.

“It’s kind of a crazy concept to have a highly compensated physician wasting time doing very low-compensation data entry work,” Strumpf said. “It typically takes two to three minutes to dictate a record, while these (EHR) systems take 12 to 15 minutes per patient to input all of the required data.”

EMSS is one of several companies providing scribe services, alongside ScribeAmerica,  PhysAssist Scribes and Elite Medical Scribes, but Strumpf said it’s a hard business to break into. The idea of a scribe might be great, but a company’s real value lies in the kinds of scribes it can recruit and how it can train them, and depends on how much providers are willing to pay for them. (Check out a great read on an emergency physician’s experience with a scribe here.)

Strumpf said scribes are typically pre-medical or pre-nursing students who use the position as a stepping stone for a career in healthcare. EMSS screen them for computer literacy, spelling and other skills, and they go through 80 to 100 hours of training in HIPAA privacy, medical terminology, coding procedures and EHR technology.

Strumpf said the company currently has 1,200 scribes under management in 14 states.

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