Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Medical Scribing: What’s the Difference?

May 22, 2023 |
Rinkal Patel, MHA, Director, Scribe Service Line
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May 22, 2023
Rinkal Patel, MHA, Director, Scribe Service Line

Meet Dr. Khan and Dr. Thomas. They’re both orthopedic surgeons. They both juggle a busy schedule of office visits and surgeries. They both work for the same provider group.

But here’s a key difference: Dr. Khan prefers to use asynchronous medical scribing to document her patient encounters. Dr. Thomas prefers synchronous scribing.

Which type of medical scribing is better? The answer comes down to individual physician preference. Which is why the best approach is to give providers a choice of either-or.

Let’s explore synchronous and asynchronous medical scribing, unpack the differences between both options, and learn the many benefits that scribes bring to health systems, outpatient groups, and urgent care centers.

 

What is Synchronous Scribing?

Synchronous essentially means “in real time.” So, with synchronous scribing, a highly trained medical scribe completes documentation as the patient encounter happens. The scribe may physically stand in the room with the patient and clinician, or they may connect to the exam virtually through a desktop, laptop, or mobile device. As the visit occurs, the scribe listens to the patient encounter in real time and inputs the required documentation.

Pros:

  • Providers can offer immediate feedback and correction to the scribe in the moment.
  • Providers can review and sign off on orders—including labs, prescriptions, and radiology—in real time, before the patient reaches the pharmacy, radiology, or diagnostic center.
  • Clinicians spend less time on documentation at the end of their patient schedule.

Cons:

  • Another human (or voice) in the room may be distracting and could interrupt the flow of the patient-provider visit. But you can overcome this challenge by using virtual synchronous medical scribing on the DeliverHealth Platform. Simply “mute” the scribe during the patient encounter. Then, if you have any feedback for the scribe, you can share it immediately after the visit.

 

What is asynchronous scribing?

In asynchronous scribing, patient encounters are recorded in real time using audio, video, or both. The recording is then sent to a highly trained medical scribe who completes documentation after the fact. The scribe inputs a structure note into the EHR and asks the clinician to review and sign off on the note.

Pros:

  • Allows clinician to focus on the patient without distractions during an encounter.
  • Eases physician documentation burden; clinicians need only to sign off on the note once it’s complete.

Cons:

  • Providers can’t offer instant feedback to scribe.
  • Providers can’t sign off on prescriptions—or lab or radiology orders—in real time.

 

Synchronous or Asynchronous—which is better?

In reality, neither synchronous nor asynchronous medical scribing is “better.” They’re both highly effective and efficient ways to perform medical documentation. They also both bring many tangible benefits to providers and facilities, including:

Higher-quality patient care. Scribing of any kind is proven to help clinicians spend more time with their patients and less time on EHR tasks. This leads to higher-quality patient visits, which also creates the downstream benefits of more efficient and effective care.

More accurate documentation. Because a certified medical scribe handles documentation, organizations benefit from improved chart accuracy and thoroughness.

Improved satisfaction scores. Medical scribing—virtual and in-person—can help boost patients’ satisfaction levels with their providers. It also can help health systems, provider groups, and urgent care centers retain their most trusted providers because it lessens their administrative burden.

Uninterrupted patient flow. Providers don’t have to stop a patient mid-sentence to jot down a note. The scribe handles all notetaking so providers and patients can have more meaningful discussions.

Improved revenue capture. Medical scribing ensures that patient records stay up to date, reduces the risk of errors, and accelerates turnaround time, allowing facilities to optimize their billing and coding functions.

Cost savings. Because scribing can simplify practice workflows, it’s a cost-effective way to drive efficiency, especially in busy medical practices and urgent care centers.

Less burnout. With scribes handling documentation, clinicians can enjoy an improved work-life balance.

 

Why Choose DeliverHealth for Synchronous and Asynchronous Scribing.

The DeliverHealth Platform—the most powerful HIM platform in the industry—now offers both synchronous and asynchronous medical scribing. That means your providers can choose the option they want to use, on their schedule and their terms.

Our platform is quick to set up and easy to use. It integrates with your providers’ patient schedules. So, clinicians need only to select the patient’s name from their daily schedule and request their preferred medical scribe virtually.

Clinicians can also use the DeliverHealth Platform to access multiple other services—including dictation and language access services—using the same familiar workflow. And since you can use our solution on any smart device in the palm of your hand, you’ll be connected anywhere at any time.

 

How do I Know if Medical Scribing Can Help My Facility?

Ask yourself—and your providers—a few key questions. How is your organization completing its documentation? How much time is spent reviewing and correcting notes? When do your providers sign off on notes? Are you experiencing any issues with quality, coverage, backlog, or clinician burnout.

Once you have the answers, use them to determine the best nest step for your healthcare organization.

If you want to learn more about medical scribing, we’re happy to help. Send us an email or call us at 877-874-6475 and we’ll help you simplify the complexities of medical documentation.