The Evolving Role of Medical Scribe: Variation and Implications for Organizational Effectiveness and Safety

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2017;234:382-388.


Increasing use of medical scribes is an unintended consequence of electronic health record adoption in the U.S. The role of scribe is not universally defined, leading to variations in scribe training and operations, as well as questions about scribe efficiency, effectiveness, and safety. Studies published since 2009 have primarily focused on the financial aspects of scribe use, but no published studies have taken an organizational view of this phenomenon. This paper describes stakeholder perspectives on scribes working in outpatient settings within an urban tertiary academic medical center. It places factors associated with of scribe systems within an eight-dimension sociotechnical framework for evaluating health information technology, and discusses key aspects of those perspectives.

Keywords: Electronic health record; communication; medical scribe; patient safety; sociotechnical systems.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Data Collection*
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Humans
  • Outpatients