In 2010, Kim Kwiatek was a career emergency room physician with a common problem: Computer record-keeping was slowing him down and giving him less time to spend with his patients. The solution he came up with — specially trained medical scribes working in tandem with physicians — not only saved him 19 days per year in record-keeping work, but also became the basis for a small business that is improving care throughout the Dayton, Ohio area.
Kwiatek spent six months developing a training program and negotiating with his hospital about how to credential this new type of health care worker. It didn’t take long for the hospital to see the value of scribes. Kwiatek says, “Pretty soon word got out and cardiologists were using my scribes, followed by pulmonary, rheumatology, immunology, orthopedic, family medicine, hospitalist and other specialists.”
Kwiatek had invented a career. He says, “ABC Scribes wrote the first for-credit college course on medical scribing in the nation for the University of Dayton. It is now used as a curriculum in five area colleges as well as our own private ‘Scribe Academy.’ We ‘wrote the book’ on scribing.”
ABC Scribes now has more than 100 scribes working for approximately 70 doctors in the Dayton area. The company’s year-over-year sales growth has averaged 40 percent for the past five years, and Kwiatek maintains a waitlist of 10 to 15 physicians seeking his scribes’ services. In 2018, ABC Scribes was named an American Small Business Championship finalist.
Kwiatek says, “In the emergency department, the most important thing to know is what you don’t know. That’s when you get a consult. Naturally I figured that the same would be true in business.” He sought out mentoring from SCORE, working with Larry Henry on his business plan. Henry suggested that Kwiatek focus locally since it would be hard to replicate the quality he had achieved in a remote location.
The local focus has meant that ABC Scribes has grown by word of mouth – and that’s great for Kwiatek, who says, “I have seen virtually no need to advertise for new customers but rather a need to advertise for more employees.”
“We are well on our way to achieving my personal goal of being THE scribe provider for all of the major physician groups in the Dayton area,” he adds.