What is a Veterinary Scribe?

“Medical scribe" has pretty much entered the popular lexicon at this point. But did you know there are also veterinary scribes? 

Just like in human healthcare, vets are turning to scribes to help optimize their practices too. If you’re a busy vet (and really, what vet isn’t?) extra help sounds pretty good.

But before jumping in, it's smart to understand what veterinary scribes do and whether they are the right fit for your clinic.

In this article, we’ll cover: 

Let’s get started! 

What is a veterinary scribe?

A vet scribe, or veterinary scribe, assists vets and vet techs by handling administrative and clerical tasks so they can focus on practicing medicine.

A vet scribe joins veterinarians during appointments and procedures to document the details of each case in the patient's electronic health record (EHR) or chart.

Vet scribes type up the vet's notes about the animal's symptoms, medical history, diagnosis, and recommended treatment plan or course of action.

The vet scribe also helps schedule follow-up appointments, submit prescription refill requests, update patient profiles, and more. 

Essentially, vet scribes do everything on the administrative side so vets have more time to devote to critical care and bonding with their furry (or not so furry, we love snakes too) patients. 

Why do vets use veterinary scribes in their practice?

Veterinarians have a demanding job, and using a vet scribe can help make their lives easier by saving a ton of time.

So, the benefits in a nutshell? Less stress, higher job satisfaction, and better experiences for clients and their pets.

What are the costs of hiring veterinary scribes?

This should almost go without saying, but there are pros and cons to hiring veterinary scribes. 

The exact cost will depend on whether you hire part-time or full-time scribes, go through a scribe staffing agency, or employ scribes directly.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly cost for a veterinary scribe in the US is $19, or around $40k a year if you don’t want to do the math. 

But, if you work with a scribing agency like ScribeAmerica, they will charge an hourly rate for scribe services that range from $25 to $40 per hour

The perks? The agency will handle recruiting, training, and managing the scribes so you can focus on your patients

But their fees will be higher to account for the extra services.

Conversely, hiring scribes on your own can save money but takes more time for the hiring and management process.

And, as with any employee, a veterinary scribe is not just a fixed cost of $40k a year or more; you’ll need to factor in additional costs like health insurance, paid time off, training, and other benefits. 

The total cost of a scribe can balloon up to $45,000 to $65,000 annually when you account for all expenses.

Yet, while scribes do require a pretty hefty investment, many vets find that increased efficiency, improved work-life balance, and higher quality care offset the costs. 

To begin with, some practices start with part-time scribes and scale up as the benefits become clear. 

For instance, you might begin by hiring a scribe for just 2-3 shifts a week to handle basic charting and scheduling needs. 

Then, as you and your staff adjust to working with a scribe, you can assess whether you need full-time support or additional part-time scribes to meet your needs. 

This type of gradual approach helps you find the right balance of scribe support for your budget and workflow.

Are vet scribes worth it, or should you upgrade to an AI?

Today, there are options before heading straight into a lengthy hiring process: you can also try a modern AI veterinary scribe system. 

AI-based systems like Lindy offer automation at a lower cost without compromising on accuracy.

With AI, there’s zero additional staff to hire or manage, and the software integrates directly into your existing practice management system to capture documentation in real time. 

How? By using natural language processing to understand and generate clinical notes, prescriptions, medical codes, and other data with a degree of accuracy that exceeds 99% (in the best systems).

And, while vet scribes provide a human touch, they tend to be more expensive and time-consuming to employ compared to AI. Plus, they have to take breaks, time off and are more error-prone than AI systems. 

Does it have to be all or nothing? 

For many clinics, a hybrid approach may work well. 

Using AI for routine tasks like capturing SOAP notes, prescriptions, and billing codes, supplemented by vet scribes for more complex cases can work well.  

(And this is especially true if you don’t want to invest in a cutting-edge AI with better natural language processing).

But, some may find that this balanced solution can optimize both efficiency and quality of care.

A short practical guide to implementing a scribe

Ready to implement an AI or human veterinary scribe? Here's a practical guide to integrating these resources:

Summing up

As a vet, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed, and far from operating at peak efficiency. If that’s the case, it may be time to get yourself a scribe.

Whether you choose to go with hiring a veterinary scribe, an online option, the AI route, or a hybrid, these points still stand:

It’s about the things that matter, like reclaiming efficiency, time with your furry patients, accuracy, and that ever-elusive work-life balance.

Next steps

Want to modernize your veterinary practice? Lindy’s ultramodern, superhuman AI can take care of your notes in a way no veterinary scribe could ever match.

Don’t take our word for it. Try out Lindy’s 7-day trial with unlimited usage during the trial period and see why thousands of practitioners are charting with Lindy.

Explore AI-powered, HIPAA-compliant Medical Dictation with Lindy