AI scribes fall short, per Kaiser Permanente study

Artificial intelligence scribes show promise in reducing the EHR burden on clinicians but their accuracy and clarity still leave much to be desired, Kaiser Permanente researchers found.

More than 3,400 Permanente Medical Group physicians have used AI scribes, which transcribe appointments via a smartphone microphone, during more than 303,000 patient encounters since October, according to the NEJM Catalyst study's early release.

The researchers from the Oakland, Calif.-based health system found an overall favorable response from providers, who reported more personal and effective appointments and less after-hours clerical work, per the Jan. 31 release. Patients described improved interactions as well. However, clinicians still have to edit the notes for accuracy and relevance.

Thirty-five AI-generated transcripts scored an average of 48 out of 50 in 10 quality metrics. Still, "AI scribes are not a replacement for clinicians," the authors noted. "They can produce inconsistencies that require physicians' review and editing to ensure that they remain aligned with the physician-patient relationship." They also recommended better EHR integration and workflow personalization options.

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