Researchers find 'significant variability' in notes by medical scribes

Hospitals have expressed a growing interest in hiring medical scribes to ease the burden of EHR documentation on physicians. However, notes written by scribes vary in accuracy, according to a study published in the journal JMIR Medical Informatics.

The researchers — led by Robert Pranaat, MD, a medical informatics researcher at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland — recruited five medical scribes with at least six months of experience. The scribes transcribed notes into a simulated EHR environment based on three virtual video-based patient-provider scenarios.

The researchers evaluated the notes for variability and accuracy and found there were significant differences in content between scribes for each section of the notes.

"In this cohort, we demonstrate significant variability both in terms of structure and accuracy in clinical documentation," the study authors concluded. "This form of simulation can provide a valuable tool for future development of scribe curriculum and assessment of competency."

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