BALTIMORE, MD – Always brainstorming innovative ways to improve the bottom line, hospital administrators at the Johns Hopscotch Hospital had what they described as a “major epiphany” earlier this week, and have started hiring illiterate medical scribes in favor of literate ones.
Over the years there has been increased demand for medical scribes by health care professionals in order to stem burnout, but they do come at a cost. The average medical scribe can expect to earn anywhere from $26,000 to $38,000 per year.
“When you’re talking about $30,000 per medical scribe that’s not insignificant,” explained hospital administration Jason Goldtoilet. “But that’s the cost for each literate medical scribe. That’s when the light bulbs went on in all of our heads. Illiterate scribes must come cheaper, perhaps several thousands of dollars cheaper, in which case we can hire more.”
In the trenches, reactions from health care professionals were a mixed bag.
“This new scribe can certainly type faster than my previous one who could read and write, so I certainly like that,” said emergency medicine physician Dr. Carol Benn, who cites that she can see up to 20 patients in the emergency room an hour, and her illiterate medical scribe can easily keep up with the pace. “But then when I try to read the documents, I realize it’s all gibberish. He might as well type the whole thing in Wingdings. That’s the only drawback. Unfortunately, it’s a major one.” Benn’s sentiments summarize the issue in a nutshell.
Illiterate medical scribe Ben Richardson explains why he can type so fast.
“I’m not limited by typing the correct letters and words, I can just press the buttons on the keyboard as fast as I possibly can without even looking down at it,” said Richardson, who can type at an impressive speed of 95 incorrect words per minute. “I know I speak for my friends when I say reading and writing would make us less productive.”
In likely-related news, clinical documentation specialists at the Johns Hopscotch Hospital have reported an increased frequency of thunderclap headaches in trying to make sense of all the unintelligible paperwork.