Comparative Analysis of AI Medical Scribes and Human Scribes

In medical care, keeping accurate patient records and good communication between healthcare providers is very important. Medical scribes help by documenting patient visits and updating records. However, human scribes can get tired, make mistakes, and need costly training. AI medical scribes can help by providing consistent, error-free documentation reducing the paperwork for healthcare professionals. This blog looks at the differences between AI medical scribes and human scribes, highlighting the benefits and challenges of each.

Who is a medical scribe?

Medical scribes are trained professionals who work alongside physicians to document patient details in electronic medical records. This includes the patient’s medical history, complaints, symptoms, test results, known allergies, doctor’s assessment and treatment plan. Medical scribes do not prescribe treatment to the patient. They may also take on administrative tasks such as managing appointments, making order entries and billing.

Taking over these tasks allows doctors to focus on their patients. This helps them make a more accurate diagnosis and provide better-quality, personalized care.

Comparing AI Medical Scribes and Human Scribes

Human scribes may provide support while being physically present in the doctor’s clinic or accessing live audio and video feeds remotely. AI medical scribes are software applications that leverage artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP) and other technologies to document doctor-patient interactions. While both perform the same service, there are differences in the degree of efficacy, quality, and cost.

Ease of documentation

Being in the room allows human scribes to note spoken and non-verbal cues. They can also pick up contextual information. If something is unclear, they can resolve these doubts immediately. Human scribes may miss out on vital information due to a potential language barrier or inability to understand words spoken in an unfamiliar language.

Using AI allows physicians to automate patient documentation. They can rapidly note patient details and transcribe spoken dialogue into accurate text notes. NLP technology enables AI solutions to identify words spoken in different dialects and translate or transcribe them into the language used for the rest of the conversation.

Therefore, AI medical scribes are more efficient in documenting verbal conversations but may not be as adept at deciphering non-verbal cues.


Making accurate notes requires attention to detail. This limits the number of doctor-patient interactions a human scribe can record. After all, irrespective of their experience, fatigue sets in at a certain point. A busy clinic may require multiple human scribes to cover all patient appointments.

The same limitation does not bind AI medical scribes. As a technological solution, it can seamlessly handle any volume of doctor-patient conversations. It doesn’t matter to software whether it is recording data from 1 long conversation to 30 smaller ones. Each interaction gets the same attention and is recorded in consistent detail. Thus, AI-powered documentation is more efficient, and the practice sees a boost in overall and long-term efficiency.

Privacy and security

Medical scribes play an essential role in maintaining doctor-patient confidentiality. Since they are present in the room, they must be discrete and respectful in their approach. They must be trained to work in the background and not hinder patient appointments. Otherwise, patients may feel uncomfortable sharing personal details, affecting their diagnosis.

Discretion is not a concern with AI medical scribes. Patient records can be encrypted to keep them secure, although it is important to remember that the tool’s security capabilities may vary from provider to provider. While patients should ideally be made aware that their conversations are being recorded, AI scribes do not have an identifiable presence in the room. Thus, the scribe does not influence the patient’s choice to disclose symptoms and details.


Regarding accuracy, AI medical scribes are at an advantage over human scribes. The software can capture details accurately and in their entirety. A machine does not experience fatigue or miss out on clearly presented information, and hence, the transcribed records of the last patient seen in the day are as accurate as the first patient’s records. AI also overcomes the concern of patient notes being influenced by human biases.

That said, the degree of accuracy depends on the data on which the AI software is modeled. It must recognize dialects and speech patterns commonly used in the region. It is important to remember that an AI scribe is not infallible. It lacks a human scribe’s intuition and cannot recognize instances when a physician may make an error and potentially bring it to their notice. Human scribes can make this often crucial distinction and omit or adjust information accordingly.


Everyone has a different style of taking notes; their shorthand version evolves with time. When multiple people make notes, a difference in formats and languages could make comparison harder.

AI scribes can overcome this challenge by entering all progress notes in standardized formats such as SOAP, CHEDDAR, or a specialty-specific template. This makes data more readable and enhances clinical efficiency.

Cost and convenience

As with anything else, there is a cost associated with medical scribes. Working with human scribes necessitates costs in terms of monthly salaries and the cost of recruitment. As the number of patients increases, so does the number of medical scribes required. Every new scribe hired may also need training before noting live patient details.

On the other hand, if you choose an AI medical scribe, you pay for the software. This usually takes the form of a monthly subscription fee. This amount usually is lower than the average salaries of human scribes. Smaller medical practices may also take advantage of free plans with limited features. In addition, the software can get to work as soon as it is installed, making it a faster practice.

Additional services

As specialized software, AI scribes cannot take on roles that have not been coded. In this scenario, human scribes have a slight advantage as they can play multiple roles. They can handle additional tasks such as setting up appointments, fetching records, etc.

Choosing a scribe for your practice

Irrespective of whether you’re managing a small clinic or a hospital with branches across the state, medical scribes can be valuable assets. You only need to ensure you pick the correct type of scribe. Several factors go into making this decision: your budget, workflow, specialty, legal requirements and, of course, your personal preferences.

Finding an AI medical scribe to match your budget should not be hard. Focus on evaluating the features available. Look for a tool that can handle unlimited consults, easy navigation and customization capabilities. It is also vital to ensure that it is compliant with relevant regulations.

Ultimately, choosing between human and AI scribes depends on the specific context. Rather than consider it a complete replacement for human intelligence, consider an AI scribe a complementary tool that allows healthcare professionals to deliver better patient care.

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