Evaluating the Impact of Medical Scribes

Client: Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA)
Topic Area: Healthcare delivery systems
Service: Applied Research

In order to address the increased administrative burden of electronic health records and the related implications for patient-centered care, Cambridge Health Alliance implemented a pilot program using medical scribes to do clinical documentation. CHA hired ICH to conduct a research study to examine the impact of this pilot and to disseminate findings through an academic publication. ICH designed and conducted a study examining the impact of medical scribes on productivity, face-to-face time (time spent facing the patient during the clinical encounter), and patient experience. The study leveraged ICH’s experience with conducting research in clinical settings and involved multiple methods of data collection, including a time motion study, survey, and electronic health record analysis.  ICH’s study enabled CHA to make data-informed decisions about whether to continue investing in medical scribes and scale up the pilot program. This work also helped CHA advance its academic mission of contributing to the knowledge base on how to deliver cost-effective, high-quality, patient-centered care.