Medical Scribe Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Medical Scribe, or Hospital Scribe, is responsible for recording a Physician’s interactions with patients and assisting with clerical duties related to medical documentation. Their duties include recording a Doctor’s interactions with patients, filling out paperwork, summaries and referral letters after a visit and entering data into medical records.

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Medical Scribe duties and responsibilities

A Medical Scribe is a paraprofessional who acts as a personal assistant to a Physician or Doctor and collects information from patients in real-time during their visits. Some of their main responsibilities in a medical facility include:

  • Taking notes during patient visits and documenting them in the electronic health records system
  • Learning about the medical process and using a team approach in patient supervision and documentation
  • Working with a supervising Physician or Doctor to complete and submit medical records
  • Communicating with patients and supervising Physicians professionally
  • Completing all administrative tasks efficiently and helping the Physician take tests and give out medication
  • Helping electronically prescribe medication for patients
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What does a Medical Scribe do?

Medical Scribes work in hospitals or clinics to improve documentation and make the process of treating patients more efficient by handling electronic health records and documenting visits. Their role is to oversee the information technology aspects of running a medical office and complete clerical tasks related to communication and recordkeeping. They accompany Physicians during their rounds and manage medical documentation by summarizing their interactions with their patients. Medical Scribes prepare voice recordings for transcription and review medical documents for errors, typos and inconsistencies. They can also perform basic research tasks by communicating with other healthcare providers and updating contact information.

Medical Scribe skills and qualifications

Medical Scribes need to portray a level of professionalism and cleanliness while working with medical staff. Some of the other important skills they need to handle their job duties include:

  • Ability to expertly document patient care and transcribe patient appointments
  • Advanced computer skills
  • Confidentiality and privacy of the patients 
  • Strong organization, multitasking and time management skills
  • Ability to handle high-pressure situations effectively
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Good bedside manner and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment

Medical Scribe salary expectations

Medical Scribes make an average of $14.31 per hour. This pay rate may vary based on a candidate’s education, experience and location.

Medical Scribe education and training requirements 

The minimum requirement to become a Medical Scribe is normally a high school diploma. However, most employers prefer to hire candidates with a college degree or certification, such as the Certified Medical Scribe Associate (CMSA) or the Certified Medical Scribe Professional (CMSP). These positions can be also held by college students working toward a medical degree. Although their education may be incomplete, employers still hire them because they have a strong knowledge of medical terminology.

Medical Scribe experience requirements 

Typically, Medical Scribes are required to have at least 1 year of prior experience dealing with electronic health records. Employers usually prefer candidates who have worked in an urgent care environment, have recent medical scribing experience and are familiar with most medical terminologies. Many Medical Scribes gain this experience by completing an online or on-site training program.

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Frequently asked questions about Medical Scribes


What is the difference between a Medical Scribe and a Medical Transcriptionist?

Medical Scribes have a comprehensive clerical support position on-site in a healthcare setting, compared to Medical Transcriptionists who can work in a remote location and focus on translating audio files into medical documents. Medical Scribes are present with the Doctor as they work with the patient. If a Medical Scribe is unavailable, the Physician may use dictation devices to record audio of their sessions, then upload the file to a software program so Medical Transcriptionists can access the file and transcribe all of their interactions. Both Medical Transcriptionists and Medical Scribes use medical shorthand and abbreviations to summarize interactions.


What should you look for on a Medical Scribe's resume?

If you want to hire a Medical Scribe, look for applicants that have previous experience in a medical environment so that you can hire someone who already understands medical terminology and procedures. In the skills section, look for candidates with a fast typing speed, attention to detail, organization, multi-tasking and communication skills. Top candidates should be familiar with working in an office environment, handling paperwork and producing written reports as part of their regular duties. Medical Scribe candidates should mention their experience working with the public because they will regularly interact with patients when shadowing Physicians.


What are the qualities of a good Medical Scribe?

Good Medical Scribes are highly perceptive people who pay attention to all of the details of a situation. They are focused on the Physician’s actions during appointments and carefully record their conversations and interactions without losing focus or missing important details. Successful Medical Scribes also have great judgment and can determine what details of a Doctor-patient interaction are essential for their records and what information is irrelevant. They use their organization and time management skills to systematically complete transcription, organization and recordkeeping tasks during downtime between appointments with patients, optimizing all office activities while still keeping up with the Physician.


What are the daily duties of a Medical Scribe?

Medical Scribes regularly use patient tracking software throughout their day to determine their schedule and responsibilities. They meet with Doctors at the beginning of an appointment and accompany them to the exam room, writing down details about the patient’s medical history, the physical exam, any suggested procedures, treatments or lifestyle changes, diagnoses, prescriptions and discussion of side effects or risks of various treatments. When Physicians dictate referral letters, Medical Scribes write them down and send them to the partnering medical office. They check patient charts to confirm they are complete and track down any missing details.

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