Medical scribing is the process of recording and documenting patient encounters in the healthcare system. It has become an integral part of modern healthcare, providing accurate and detailed records of patient interactions that help healthcare providers make informed decisions about patient care and treatment. Medical scribing has evolved into two main categories as technology has advanced: traditional medical scribing and virtual medical scribing.

In this article, we will compare virtual medical scribing to traditional medical scribing and determine which one wins in 2023.

Definition of Medical Scribing and Its Role in Healthcare:

Medical scribing is a process where a trained professional records and documents patient encounters in real-time, typically by shadowing the healthcare provider during the encounter. The scribe takes notes on the patient’s medical history, symptoms, physical examination findings, and treatment plan. The documentation is then entered into the electronic health record (EHR) system for future reference. Medical scribing plays a critical role in the healthcare system, providing accurate and detailed records of patient encounters that can help healthcare providers make informed decisions about patient care and treatment.

The Origins of Medical Scribing

Medical scribing has been around for centuries, but it was not until the 21st century that it became a formal profession. In the early days, medical scribes were typically medical students or volunteers who assisted healthcare providers in recording and documenting patient encounters. With the rise of technology, medical scribes evolved into a formal profession with specialized training programs and certification processes.

Importance of Medical Scribing in the Current Healthcare System

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Medical scribing is critical in the current healthcare system, as it provides accurate and detailed records of patient encounters that help healthcare providers make informed decisions about patient care and treatment. Additionally, medical scribing can help reduce healthcare costs by improving efficiency and reducing errors. Medical scribing can also improve patient outcomes by providing healthcare providers with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about patient care. Medical scribing can enhance patient satisfaction and the overall patient experience by freeing up healthcare providers to concentrate solely on patient care.

Traditional Medical Scribing

What is Traditional Medical Scribing?

Traditional medical scribing involves a medical scribe who accompanies a healthcare provider during patient encounters and documents the details of the encounter in real-time. The medical scribe is responsible for accurately and efficiently documenting the encounter, including the patient’s medical history, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment plans. This documentation can then be used by the healthcare provider to make informed decisions about patient care.

How Traditional Medical Scribing works ?

Traditional medical scribing involves a trained healthcare professional (scribe) who accompanies a physician during patient encounters, listens and documents patient information, medical histories, physical exam findings, and diagnostic test results in real-time, and assists in generating medical reports and progress notes. The scribe also manages and updates patient medical records and facilitates communication between physicians, patients, and other healthcare professionals.

Traditional Medical Scribing Limitations

One of the biggest limitations of traditional medical scribing is cost. Hiring a medical scribe can be expensive, especially for smaller healthcare practices. Additionally, traditional medical scribing is not always convenient, as it requires the physical presence of the medical scribe during patient encounters.

Use Cases of Traditional Medical Scribing

Traditional medical scribing is commonly used in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. Many medical scribe companies offer traditional medical scribing services, providing trained medical scribes who can work alongside healthcare providers to document patient encounters.

Virtual Medical Scribing is a healthcare service in which a trained professional, also known as a Virtual Medical Scribe, assists healthcare providers in documenting patient encounters. With Virtual Medical Scribing, healthcare providers can have real-time documentation of their clinical interactions without having to manually document everything themselves.

How Virtual Medical Scribing Works

Virtual medical scribing services are typically provided by companies that specialize in medical scribing. A virtual medical scribe is assigned to a healthcare provider and works remotely. The scribe actively participates in the clinical encounters of the provider while simultaneously entering pertinent data into the provider’s electronic medical record (EMR). Before signing off on the note, the provider can review the documentation and make any necessary changes.

Limitations of virtual medical scribing

Despite the many benefits of virtual medical scribes, there are also some limitations. One of the main limitations is the need for a reliable internet connection. Since virtual medical scribes work remotely, a stable internet connection is crucial for effective communication between the healthcare provider and the virtual medical scribe. Another limitation is the potential for errors in the documentation process.

Use cases of virtual medical scribing

  • Reducing workload of doctors
  • Improving accuracy of medical records
  • Enhancing patient care by allowing doctors to spend more time with patients
  • Enabling remote care in rural or remote areas
  • Reducing costs for medical practices by eliminating the need for in-person scribes

Comparison: Virtual vs. Traditional Medical Scribing


  • Cost-effectiveness: Virtual medical scribing has been found to be more cost-effective than traditional medical scribing because it eliminates the need for physical space, equipment, and scribe training. Additionally, virtual scribes are typically paid lower wages than traditional scribes. However, there may be additional costs associated with virtual scribing, such as software and technology expenses.
  • Accuracy and efficiency: Both virtual and traditional medical scribing have been shown to improve documentation accuracy and efficiency, reducing errors and allowing physicians to focus on patient care. However, virtual scribing may have an edge in terms of accuracy and efficiency, as virtual scribes can work remotely and have access to real-time data and collaboration tools.
  • Security and privacy: Both virtual and traditional medical scribing must comply with regulations and standards for security and privacy of patient data. Virtual scribing may offer some advantages in terms of data security, as the virtual scribing software can be designed to ensure that data is encrypted and transmitted securely.


Both virtual and traditional medical scribing have their advantages and disadvantages. Virtual medical scribing, offered by virtual medical scribing companies, provides greater flexibility and convenience, as virtual scribes for physicians can work remotely and physicians can access documentation from any location. Virtual medical scribe services can also be more cost-effective, as they eliminate the need for office space and equipment. The best virtual medical scribe companies provide skilled and knowledgeable virtual scribes.

Traditional medical scribing, on the other hand, offers a more personal touch and may allow for better communication between the physician and scribe. However, it may be more difficult to find and hire trained medical scribes for traditional scribing.

Ultimately, the choice between virtual medical scribing and traditional medical scribing will depend on the specific needs and preferences of the healthcare provider. It is important to consider factors such as cost, convenience, and the quality of documentation when making this decision.

As a healthcare provider, staying up-to-date on the latest advancements in virtual medical scribe services is crucial for staying competitive and delivering high-quality care. Our virtual medical scribe company offers the best virtual medical scribe services with skilled and knowledgeable virtual scribes for physicians.

Check out our most recent article on virtual medical scribe and how it can benefit doctors , Advantages of Virtual Medical Scribe that Physicians Must Know in 2023 and How to Find the Best Virtual Medical Scribe Company for Your Practice (2023)

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

What is medical scribing?

Medical scribing is a process in which a trained professional, known as a medical scribe, assists healthcare providers by documenting patient encounters in real-time. This involves taking notes on the patient's medical history, symptoms, and treatment plan, as well as any other relevant information. Medical scribes can work either in-person or virtually, and their primary goal is to help doctors and other medical professionals improve patient care by ensuring accurate and complete documentation of patient encounters.

How does medical scribing improve patient care?

Medical scribing can improve patient care in several ways. By accurately documenting patient encounters, medical scribes can help reduce errors in diagnosis and treatment, improve communication between healthcare providers, and ensure that patients receive the appropriate care and follow-up. Additionally, medical scribes can free up healthcare providers' time, allowing them to focus more on patient care and less on paperwork and administrative tasks.

What are the benefits of virtual medical scribing?

Virtual medical scribing offers several benefits over traditional in-person scribing. For one, virtual scribes can work remotely, allowing healthcare providers to access their services from anywhere with an internet connection. This can help reduce costs and increase efficiency, as providers don't need to provide physical space for scribes to work. Additionally, virtual scribing can help reduce the risk of exposure to infectious diseases, as scribes don't need to be physically present with patients.

What are the limitations of virtual medical scribing?

While virtual medical scribing offers many benefits, there are also some limitations to consider. One major source of concern is the possibility of technological issues, such as internet outages or software malfunctions, disrupting the scribing process.

How does traditional medical scribing compare to virtual medical scribing?

Traditional medical scribing involves a scribe physically present in the room with the patient and healthcare provider, while virtual medical scribing involves a scribe working remotely. While virtual scribing may be more effective and economical for providers who are comfortable with remote communication and require more flexibility in their work arrangements, in-person scribing may be better suited for providers who prefer face-to-face interaction and need to work in a hands-on manner.

What is the cost difference between virtual and traditional medical scribing?

The cost of medical scribing can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the location of the healthcare facility, the qualifications of the scribe, and the specific services offered. In general, virtual medical scribing may be more cost-effective than traditional in-person scribing, as providers don't need to provide physical space for scribes to work and may be able to access services from providers in different geographic locations.

Can virtual medical scribing compromise patient privacy?

There is a potential for virtual medical scribing to compromise patient privacy if appropriate safeguards are not put in place. Providers should work with scribing services that adhere to strict data security and privacy protocols, such as HIPAA compliance, to ensure that patient information is kept confidential and secure.

Which are the best virtual medical scribe services companies in NJ?

There are several virtual medical scribing companies and services available in NJ, and Medscribe360 is one of the top providers in the region. They offer experienced and trained virtual scribes for physicians, flexible scheduling, and competitive pricing. Additionally, Medscribe360 has a strong commitment to data security and patient privacy, ensuring that providers can trust their services. Overall, Medscribe360 is a reliable and high-quality option for providers in NJ seeking virtual medical scribing services.