What it does: Offers remote documentation services to medical practitioners in the United States by professionals called “Scribes” based in Bangladesh.
Best known for: The world’s first startup that uses Google Glass, a voice-and-motion controlled Android device similar to a pair of eyeglasses and shows real-time data in the client’s field of vision. This technology allows its staff in Bangladesh to hear and see the doctor and patient conversations directly. The scribes then take on the documentation and administrative tasks.
Staff stats: Around 500 employees. The company plans to provide more than 7,000 middle-income jobs in the next five years.
The good bits: It’s a startup company where there is plenty of room for career advancement as well as more opportunities for learning and personal development. The compensation package is reportedly better-than-average in the business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry.
The not-so-good bits: The company has long work hours and graveyard shift schedules.
Augmedix Bangladesh Ltd is a BPO company in Panthapath, Dhaka. In 2012, its main headquarters based in Silicon Valley, California was established by two Stanford graduates Pelu Tran and Ian Kazi Shakil. They originally collaborated at Stanford to create medical devices as part of the Biodesign program. During the program, the two realised that regardless of their forte, doctors were swamped with patient information and documentation. This prompted them to zero in on digital health, where they found the significant potential of harnessing Google Glass technology in the healthcare industry. Thus Augmedix was founded with the primary aim of freeing physicians from electronic documentation and charting tasks to concentrate on patient care.
In 2019, the company received a US$5 million (AUD7.2 million) investment from the top five healthcare organizations in the US including Satter Health, Dignity Health, Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), and TriHealth Inc. These organisations have over one million healthcare providers combined, offering medical care to millions of patients across the US. The funding brings Augmedix’s total raised since its inception in 2012 to US$82 million (AUD117 million). The company serves doctors in 30 states attending to 5,000 patients a day. It partnered with 15 national health systems, representing over 10% of the total clinicians in the US tied up with Augmedix.
Graduates can apply online, through campus recruitment or as a walk-in. Fresh graduates can enquire at their schools for the job openings as the company has partnerships with the country’s major universities. Alternatively, they can attend the walk-in recruitment session every Tuesday or Friday in its office in the city of Dhaka. Online applications are also available, with the company replying after a week or longer.
The first step is the pre-screening test where they can submit their resumes and take the initial interview. Shortlisted applicants then go through a screening process which is a 100-minute and computer-based test covering English grammar, listening, and typing skills exams. The result of the screening test is released after one week. Candidates who obtained a grade of at least 50% pass the test and are invited again for a panel interview in the Dhaka office. Common questions (ie why do you want to join Augmedix, do you have any problem working at night, are you interested in working in healthcare and with foreigners) are asked during the interview. The job description and compensation package are also discussed. Those who fail the screening test can apply again after three months.
For the Scribe position, the starting salary is 10,000 BDT per month during the first two months of training. Candidates who pass the initial training have their monthly pay increased to 15,000 BDT.
The company claims that Scribes who perform well and maintain an above-average track record in four years with the organisation can earn one lakh or 167,000 BDT as a bonus.
Candidates who work as Scribes can be promoted to senior scribes, trainers, quality specialists, and managers.
Some consider Augmedix as a place to acquire or build professional experience for new graduates. In particular, the Scribe position is seen as a good entry-level job after college as they are exposed to a variety of specialties including internal medicine, cardiology, orthopedics, oncology, and emergency medicine, to name some. Scribes become specialists in a particular medical field as a result of their collaboration with physicians.
The workplace is said to be friendly, with scribes and team leaders supporting and cooperating with each other to accomplish daily tasks and goals.
Scribes work five days a week on graveyard shifts to match the hours and time zones of US physicians. Days off include Saturday and Sunday. The organisation claims that night work in Dhaka is safe and offers its own transport to employees. It also provides free food and tea in the cafeteria in the evening.
The company holds events after office hours to allow for socialising between the scribe operations and the rest of the company, including what it calls ‘Thankful Thursdays’ and ‘all-hands events’.
However, work-life balance is tough due to the demands of the Scribe role. They generally work for up to 12 hours, sometimes skipping restroom breaks to work with physicians uninterrupted.
As part of its social responsibility, Augmedix Bangladesh Ltd. recently installed a safe drinking water system for Meherunnesa Girls High School and College, a marginalised public school in Dhaka with more than 500 students. The system is a sophisticated water filtration process that has addressed the problem of clean drinking water, which the school experienced over the past few years.
Employees will be motivated to work regularly given the friendly work environment, however, the long work hours may lead to health-related problems in the long run. The nature of the work provides a valuable learning experience, which may be a strong motivator for some graduates.